Birds are one of the most beautiful creatures to have ever lived, be it the beautiful peacock, the mighty hunter hawk, the night predator owls, the penguins in Antarctica, the singing bird nightingale, and so on.
They are competent in various tasks, be it building a nest, hunting, migrating, or even mimicking human voices. They also make good pets even though they do not like being caged often.
The dove and the pigeon belong to the Columbidae family, but they belong to different species of the family. And though people mix them.
- Doves are smaller and have slender bodies, while pigeons are larger with a more robust build.
- Doves are known for their soft cooing, while pigeons make a distinctive cooing sound that is louder and more persistent.
- Doves are associated with love and peace, while pigeons are more commonly seen as city-dwelling birds that can be a nuisance.
Dove vs. Pigeon
Doves are found in more urban settings and are kept as pets; they have a rounder head, slender neck, and pointed tail feathers and are smaller and have a slimmer body shape than pigeons. Pigeons thrive in rural areas, are more aggressive, and are considered a nuisance in urban areas.
|Parameters of comparison
|They are smaller in size.
|They are larger.
|They belong to the Columbidae family but are a different species.
|They are a separate species as well.
|They eat feed on fruits and seeds. But some variety of doves feeds on worms and insects as well.
|They feed primarily on seeds.
|They have more melodious cooing and mating calls.
|Their calls are not as melodious.
|They have more pointed tails.
|They have more rounded tails.
What is Dove?
As mentioned before, they belong to the class Aves under the family Columbidae, along with pigeons and 300 other species.
Doves are also called “love birds” in various literature throughout history. For a good reason, certain species, like release doves, are released at weddings as a part of the ceremony. It signifies love, harmony, and peace.
These birds have stout bodies, short legs, beaks, and pointed tails; the different species have various markings making them different from each other and beautiful as ever.
They do not have specific habitats and thus are found worldwide, apart from the desert and the Antarctic. They are also very good as pets, especially the two species of ring-necked dove and diamond dove.
They are perfect for those who cannot provide high maintenance or one-on-one social interaction to the bird, their interactions are fun to watch, and their coos are melodious.
These birds are more free-spirited than others, who are better accustomed to cage life. Thus these birds need a wider birdcage to fly back and forth.
They feed on seeds mostly, and that too with a bit of grit and calcium, especially during breeding.
Doves symbolize peace, too, as these birds are docile, hands-free, and independent. They can live harmoniously with others of their species.
Coming to their reproduction, these birds mate for life and are monogamous. The female bird lays two eggs which take 13 to 19 days to incubate, and both parents take part in caring for the young birds.
After the eggs hatch, the parents feed them with “crop milk,” which consists of a curd-like material and partially digested food from the parents.
What is Pigeon?
These birds, too, belong to the “Columbidae” family, with about 250 species of them.
They are found in all kinds of habitats. However, they are mostly concentrated in Southeast Asia, Australia, and the Western Pacific.
These birds are really social and can be seen in many public areas and even residents. They are gentle, plump, and small-billed birds with a cere between the bill and forehead.
Their characteristic head bobbing makes them pretty recognizable and different from other species. They have long wings and powerful flight muscles, which makes them solid and swift fliers.
The fantail pigeon has a rounded tail, making it attractive and a favorite pet of many even though they must have flights daily.
They, too, are good navigators and return to their breeders even when set free. These birds have a good sense of direction, intensity, and polarity and thus can fly back and forth long distances.
Humans exploited this very character of the pigeons, and they were used to send letters back and forth between one another. This even resulted in the extinction of passenger pigeons.
They are monogamous, and the eggs are cared for by the female during the night and the male during the day.
Even though they are attentive parents, they occasionally kill their children, and the process is known as “scalping.” Also, these intelligent animals show signs of distress when in grieve and away from their partners.
It is straightforward to train the pigeon to do little tricks, sit on shoulders, and even carrier of letters, etc.
Main Differences Between a Dove and a Pigeon
- The size of a pigeon is larger than that of a dove.
- The pigeon has a more rounded tail, while the dove has a more pointed tail.
- The call of the Dove bird is more melodious than the coos of the pigeon.
- Even though they are below the same family, which is Columbidae, they belong to different species under it.
- Pigeons are primarily herbivores and feed on seeds or fruits, the doves eat fruits or seeds, but some varieties feed on insects and worms.
- The origins of the word “pigeon” and “dove” are historically different.
Last Updated : 11 June, 2023
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.