Difference Between Dove and Pigeon

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.


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They are really competent in various tasks, be it building a nest, hunting, migrating, and even mimicking human voices so on. They also make for good pets even though they do not like being caged a lot. 

The dove and the pigeon both belong to the family of Columbidae but they belong to different species of the family. And though people often mix them together.

Dove vs Pigeon

The difference between a dove and a pigeon is their size, pigeons tend to be of larger size than the dove.

The pigeons have a bigger and more plump body with rounded tails whereas the doves have pointed tails and stout bodies with short legs and beaks.

Dove vs Pigeon

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonDovePigeon
SizeThey are smaller in size.They are larger in size.
SpeciesThey belong to the Columbidae family but a different species.They are a separate species as well.
DietThey usually eat feed on fruits and seeds. But some variety of doves feed on worms and insects as well.They feed primarily on seeds.
CallsThey have more melodious cooing and mating calls.Their calls are not as melodious. 
TailThey 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 referred to as “love birds” in various literature all through history and for good reason, certain species like release dove are often released at weddings as a part of the ceremony. It signifies love harmony, and peace.

These birds have stout bodies, with short legs and beaks, and have pointed tails, the different species have various markings making them different from each other and beautiful as ever.

They do not have specific habitat and thus are found all around the world 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 people 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 too. 

These birds are more free-spirited than other birds who are better accustomed to cage life. Thus these birds need a wider birdcage so that they can fly back and forth.

They feed on seeds mostly and that too with a bit of grit and calcium, especially during breeding. 

Doves are the symbol of peace too, as these birds are docile, hands-free, and pretty independent. They can live harmoniously with others of their species.

Coming to their reproduction, these birds mate for life and are monogamous in nature. The female bird lays two eggs which take 13 to 19 days to incubate and both the parents take part in caring for the young birds.

After the eggs hatch, the parents feed them with a “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 and there are about 250 species of them.

They are found in all kinds of habitat, however, they are mostly concentrated in the areas of Southeast Asia, Australia, and the western Pacific.

These birds are really social and they can be seen in a lot of 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, powerful flight muscles which makes them strong and swift fliers.

The fantail pigeon has a rounded tail which makes it really attractive and a favorite pet of many even though they have to have flights on the daily.

They too are good navigators and come back to their breeders even when they are set free. These birds have a good sense of direction, intensity, and polarity and thus they are capable of flying 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 in nature 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 really easy 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 

  1. The size of a pigeon is larger than that of a dove.
  2. The pigeon has a more rounded tail while the dove has a more pointed tail.
  3. The call of the Dove bird is more melodious than the coos of the pigeon.
  4.  Even though they below the same family which is Columbidae, they belong to different species under it.
  5. Pigeons are primarily herbivores and feed on seeds or fruits, the doves eat fruits or seeds but some varieties of them feed on insects and worms. 
  6. The origins of the word “pigeon” and “dove” are historically different.  
Difference Between Dove and Pigeon


  1. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/abs/10.1098/rspb.2012.2893
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378113514001321
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