You Won’t Believe How Long Pigeons Can Live!

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What is the average lifespan of a pigeon? This is a question that many people have, as these birds are often seen in cities and towns across the world. While their lifespan can vary depending on a number of factors, the average lifespan of a pigeon is around ten years. 

A surprising fact about pigeons is that they can remember up to 100 different faces and can live in flocks of up to 10,000 birds. Because they are so common in urban areas, beach hotels, walkways, parks, and gardens, it’s easy to imagine pigeons have a lengthy lifespan. If you’re interested in learning more about pigeons and have wondered, “How long do pigeons live?” then keep reading! In this article, we will discuss the average lifespan of a pigeon, as well as some of the factors that can influence it.

Lifespan of pigeons
Lifespan of pigeons

How long do pigeons live?

According to studies, the average lifespan of a wild pigeon is between 3 and 6 years; however, this might be as high as ten years in some instances. Captive pigeons can live up to 20 years or more. Many people like pigeons as pets because of their long lifespan—9-15 years on average, although a few have been known to survive even longer than 20 years.

How long do pigeons live in the wild?

It is estimated that the average lifespan of a pigeon in the wild is between three and six years. However, since they are not cared for by people, wild pigeons have a shorter lifespan than their captive Pigeons. Food and water might also be scarce in these areas.

Since so many wild pigeons perish at such an early age, the average age at which a pigeon lives is closer to 6 than ten years. The pigeons perched on the building corners are constantly prepared to defend themselves.

This is due to their inherent risks and the harsh living conditions they endure.

These birds are constantly threatened by the weather and the precarious environment in which they must survive. Depending on the time of year and location, they may have to brave temperatures ranging from very hot to very cold. Not only do they have to contend with several natural enemies but also numerous anthropogenic ones. Most of the food waste they consume, which includes both healthy and unhealthy options, may be harmful to them for a number of reasons, the most obvious being cars and cats. Chemicals may pose a threat to woodland pigeons as well.

What is the lifespan of a pigeon in the city?

Due to the perils of city streets and natural predators, a city pigeon’s life expectancy is just two to four years.

The average lifespan of a city pigeon is lower than that of a wood pigeon. This is due to their increased susceptibility to dangers like sickness and predators. You can’t draw the same parallels between a tree in the woods and a nest in the middle of a city. People who see them as a nuisance are also more prone to take their lives.

How long can pigeons survive in captivity?

A pet pigeon may live anywhere from 9 to 15 years on average. They may live longer, just as any other pet animal, if their owner gives them plenty of affection and care. First and foremost, Pigeons need a suitable environment to thrive. They need constant access to clean water and enough food in their enclosure.

Pet pigeons benefit from a lack of danger from predators than their wild relatives.

Also, compared to pigeons living in the wild, those kept in cages or coops—even if their owners let them out occasionally—are mostly safe from predators.

Though White Pigeons have relatively same lifespan but those used for release have a different story due to their commercial aspects. You may read more on our detailed article on White pigeons.

More than that, their pets are well taken care of by their human companions.

They are spared the daily grind of hunting for food.

As opposed to wild pigeons, domestic pigeons never have to search for food or risk their lives to eat well. Good pet owners know how important it is to provide their animals with a balanced diet. When a pigeon becomes sick, its owner will treat it quickly.

How long do Wood Pigeons live?

Wood pigeons have a 3-6 year lifetime on average, although some may live much longer. More than half of wild-born wood pigeons do not survive their first year. For this reason, around 4 out of adult wood pigeons and almost all youngsters perish each year.

The high mortality rate of wood pigeons is balanced out by the fact that females often produce three broods of eggs every year.

The flock of wood pigeons is easily killed by predators such as crows, and hawks, especially the sparrow hawk, squirrels, owls, foxes, and even domestic cats while still in the nest.

But wood pigeons are very successful breeders and are among the few species that can reproduce almost continuously throughout the year. Because of this, they can keep their population very large even though their average lifetime is relatively short.

Rarely are wood pigeons kept as pets because of how feral they are in the wild. However, pigeons and doves explicitly bred for racing may live up to 15 years in captivity.

Why do racing pigeons have such a long lifespan?

Pigeons used in competitive racing have been known to live for up to two decades.

These pigeons are owned by seasoned pigeon keepers who likely shelled out serious cash to acquire their prized possessions. Racing pigeons live so long in part because they are used for something. The racing provides them with the physical activity that is crucial to their health but which is often denied to other captive birds. These birds are hardy and persistent, which also helps. Evidence for this can be found in the role of pigeons and doves as messengers and rescuers throughout history. They seem to thrive on adversity, taking on the elements against the odds.

How do pigeons stay safe?

Occasionally, sparrow hawks may hunt on pigeons, but the peregrine falcon is the more common predator. Pigeons, though, don’t have much competition from the animal kingdom. Since humans have encroached on pigeon habitats, they may also be considered a natural predators.

A pigeon’s primary self-defense mechanism is flight. The pigeon may easily outfly its predator by taking to the air, which is a non-confrontational escape strategy. In a pigeon fight, both birds will swipe at one other with their wings, peck at each other’s faces, and push and shove each other.

All wild animals face risk in the wild because they lack the ability to defend themselves. An animal is an easy prey if it has been wounded, abandoned, or otherwise compromised.

How to extend the life of a pet pigeon?

The quality of your pet pigeon’s life may be greatly improved by making even modest expenditures.

Keeping your bird happy and healthy may be as simple as ensuring it gets enough high-quality food, regular exercise, and plenty of human interaction.

Most of these will only eat up a little of your day. It’s better to do something, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

Taking good care of a pet pigeon is essential since they may outlive their wild relatives by many years. Consider the following advice if you want your pet pigeon to live as long as possible:

Food Habit

Pigeons will eat almost anything you put in front of them as long as it contains grains. However, if you are concerned about their health, it is recommended to adhere to the meal that has been particularly prepared for them. Bread can be fed as a snack on occasion. Dried pigeon food has more nutrients than conventional bird food, resulting in a longer lifetime.

Pigeons may be given seed and grain combinations designed particularly for them, which are available at most pet stores. Pets might suffer when their owners unintentionally feed them low-quality, low-cost food deficient in critical nutrients. It is also likely to feed their bird a significant portion of their daily table foods.

Providing balanced food for your pigeon is crucial to its well-being. Rather, they should be given high-quality bird food in addition to fresh produce like lettuce and carrots.

Nutritious cereals and even hard-boiled eggs are also an intelligent choice. Greens like peas, kale, lettuce, and spinach are all healthy options. Even though they are receptive to a wide variety of food, grapes are a safe bet. Last but not least, you should feed them seeds and nuts, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to the typical ones, like raw peanuts.

Cage care

Cages should be as long or wide as possible rather than tall. To keep the pigeon safe from any potential predators, the cage must be sturdy enough to withstand the elements. With one or two (suitable) pigeons, a cage that’s minimum of 42 inches wide, 27 inches deep, and 30 inches high is suggested. Some shelves installed in the cage will provide residents with a place to land and rest their wings or feet. Put the cage where they will be close to the light and their friends.

A flat, easily-cleaned surface, such as wood, lino, plastic, or even a custom-cut yoga mat, is ideal for pigeons.

Keep them Clean

Keep them inside the coop during extreme heat, and give them a bath in a water bowl. For a more luxurious soak, provide a large casserole dish or plant saucer. Pigeons in good health take great care to maintain the cleanliness of their feathers and are avid bathers.


They require regular exercise to maintain their health and longevity. Just as we need to pace ourselves for optimal life, the body also benefits from regular activity followed by resting and nutrition. In addition, physical activity is crucial. Indoor pigeon owners should provide their feathered charges with access to a large, vacant room at least once daily.

Health Check-Ups

Checking your pigeon’s health every six to twelve months is advised. Common infections may be checked for by fecal and crop testing, and testing for Chlamydia is also recommended for health monitoring.

The New Pigeon Rule

It is strongly advised that a 2-week quarantine period be observed before integrating a new Pigeon into an existing flock. If you want to keep your current pigeons healthy, you should have a health check on your new pigeon before you introduce it to the flock.

What causes pigeons to die suddenly?

Diseases that affect humans may also affect pigeons and other birds. Pigeons are considered zoonotic because of their ability to spread illness to humans.

Pigeons are coccidiosis-prone, a contagious disease that infects many birds. A protozoan infects birds’ digestive systems and causes illness. These viruses only appear in birds that have endured significant suffering, including a lengthy journey or starvation. Infected pigeon excrement may infect even adult pigeons. Diseased birds lose the desire to move and close their eyes. Watery droppings become green. In severe situations, the chick may die.

Pigeons are susceptible to canker, which can be lethal. It’s spread via polluted water and food. Diseased pigeons are less active, lose weight, and consume more water. Young birds are mainly affected.


Pigeons have a relatively long lifespan for a bird, averaging around ten years. However, this can vary depending on the species and the environment in which they live. In captivity, pigeons have been known to live for up to 20 years with proper care and a good diet. So, if you’re thinking of getting a pet pigeon, be prepared for a long-term commitment! While considering their lifespan compared with many other animals, they still provide us with years of enjoyment. So, the next time you see a pigeon, take a moment to appreciate all they have to offer. 

John Lewis

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