How Do Pigeons Mate? A Comprehensive Guide to Pigeon Reproduction

Ever wondered how pigeons, one of the most common birds you see around, reproduce?

These unassuming grey or blue creatures have a unique mating procedure that’s fascinating to understand.

In this comprehensive guide about pigeon reproduction, we’ll demystify the process by digging deep into their mating mechanicsrituals and nesting habits. Curious already? Let’s dive right in!

The Mechanics of Pigeon Mating

Male pigeons get ready for mating as their cloacas swell more than females. This happens because the male is making more sperm. The female pigeon makes herself ready too. She bends down so her cloaca can meet with the male’s easily.

In this position, the male pigeon climbs on the female’s back end. They touch their cloacas together in what we call a “cloacal kiss”. Sperm moves from the male to the female during this kiss.

The female sucks up the sperm into her ovaries through her cloaca. For a better chance at making eggs, pigeons might mate many times in one week.

Do Pigeons Mate for Life?

Pigeons exhibit monogamy in their mating habits, often forming lifelong partnerships with their mates.

Monogamy in Pigeons

Pigeons do not mate for life. They pick a new partner each time they want to have babies. This act is different from what many birds do. Some birds like swans, bald eagles and albatross stick with one mate their whole lives.

Choosing a new mate each time helps pigeons keep strong and healthy over many generations. By mixing up the genetic material, the baby pigeons inherit different traits from both parents.

These might be large eyes, fast flight or other useful skills to survive in the wild.

Pigeon Mating Habits

Pigeon mating habits are quite unique. Males and females mate through a process known as the “cloacal kiss”. This is where sperm gets passed from the male to the female. The male pigeon’s cloaca swells up before this act because it makes more sperm.

The female pigeons get ready for mating by crouching down. They do this to give a stable base for the male during the act of mating. The pairs may mate many times within a week to raise their chances of having babies.

This way has worked well, with over 400 million pigeons around our world today!

The Mating Ritual of Pigeons

Pigeons engage in a distinct mating ritual, characterized by various behaviors and signs of sexual arousal.

Signs of Pigeons Mating

Spotting pigeons mating is not hard. Here are things to look for:

  1. Male pigeons swell more than females prior to mating – this shows increased sperm production.
  2. A female pigeon may crouch down to show her cloaca – she does this to make mating quick and easy.
  3. Watch how the male climbs onto the end of the female during mating.
  4. Birds press their cloacas together in a “cloacal kiss”. This is a big sign that pigeons are about to mate.
  5. Some males fly up into the air clapping their wings loudly while others drop feathers and coo at the females.
  6. Pigeons touch beaks and preen each other as part of their pre – mating behavior.

Pigeons’ Pre-mating Behavior

Pigeons have specific behaviors before they mate. Here are some things they do:

  • Female pigeons show interest in mating by nodding their head and making cooing sounds.
  • Male pigeons respond to the female’s signals by puffing up their feathers and strutting around.
  • Both male and female pigeons chase each other, flapping their wings and bobbing their heads.
  • Pigeons may engage in a behavior called “billing,” where they touch beaks with each other.
  • They also perform a courtship dance, where they bow low, spread their tail feathers, and make soft cooing sounds.

Nesting Habits of Pigeons

Pigeons reuse the same nest for multiple broods, ensuring their eggs are protected and allowing them to raise multiple offspring in a single nesting season.

Egg Incubation and Hatching

Pigeons lay eggs in their nests and then incubate them until they hatch. Here are some important facts about the process:

  • Female pigeons usually lay one or two eggs at a time.
  • The eggs are plain white and about the size of a small chicken egg.
  • Both male and female pigeons take turns sitting on the eggs to keep them warm.
  • The incubation period for pigeon eggs is around 17 to 19 days.
  • During incubation, the parent pigeons rotate the eggs several times a day to ensure even temperature distribution.
  • Pigeon parents use a special gland called “crop milk” to feed their hatching chicks.
  • This crop milk is produced in their crop, which is an enlarged part of their esophagus.
  • The crop milk provides all the necessary nutrients for the baby pigeons in their early days of life.
  • Once hatched, baby pigeons, known as squabs, are blind and featherless.

Reuse of the Same Nest

Pigeons have a unique nesting habit – they often reuse the same nest for multiple breeding cycles. This behavior is common among pigeons and is associated with their mating and nesting habits.

By reusing nests, pigeons save time and effort in building new ones each time they breed. It also provides them with a familiar and secure environment for hatching eggs and raising their chicks.

The reuse of nests is an interesting characteristic of pigeon reproduction, highlighting their adaptability and efficiency in creating a suitable home for their offspring.

Interesting Facts About Pigeon Mating

Pigeons have a relatively long lifespan, with some individuals living up to 15 years.

Lifespan of a Pigeon

Pigeons have a relatively long lifespan compared to many other bird species. On average, they can live for about 3 to 5 years in the wild. However, some pigeons have been known to live up to 15 years or even longer when kept in captivity.

The lifespan of a pigeon can be influenced by factors such as their environment, availability of food, disease, and predation. Pigeons that live in urban areas tend to have shorter lifespans due to increased exposure to pollution and limited resources.

Overall, pigeons have adapted well to various environments and continue to thrive in both rural and urban settings.

Pigeon Loyalty to Their Mate

Pigeons have a special bond with their mates and often mate for life. They show loyalty by staying with the same partner throughout their lives, as long as both birds are alive. Pigeons display affectionate behaviors towards their mate, such as preening each other’s feathers and sharing food.

They also take turns incubating the eggs and feeding the chicks once they hatch. This loyalty is important for pigeons to successfully raise their young and ensure the survival of their species.


In conclusion, pigeons have a simple and efficient mating process. They don’t engage in romantic behaviors or form long-term relationships. Instead, they rely on their cloacas to transfer sperm from the male to the female for fertilization.

This unique reproductive strategy has allowed pigeons to thrive and adapt to various environments, making them one of the most abundant bird species in the world.


1. How do pigeons mate?

Pigeons, like other birds in the avian kingdom, mate through a process known as cloacal congress. This is part of their bird reproduction behavior.

2. What is special about pigeon relationships?

In pigeon relationships, the birds often form monogamous pairs for breeding habits. They share tasks such as nest building and raising young at nesting sites.

3. When does pigeon mating season occur?

The pigeon mating season can vary based on their location and food supply but typically occurs during warmer months when resources are plentiful.

4. What happens after pigeons mate?

After pigeons mate, they lay eggs in nests often built on ground or high places safe from natural predators like barn owls and black vultures.

5. Are all pigeons the same when it comes to mating?

No! Different types of pigeons like Homing Pigeons or Rock Doves may show different behaviors or have distinct ways for marking their territory during mating season.

6. Can I watch a pigeon mating video to learn more?

Yes! To understand better about bird reproduction including that of Pigeon’s you can watch educational videos online but always keep respect for animal privacy and refrain from sharing explicit content with others.

Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.