Pigeon keeping has been seeing a solid increase in popularity over the last couple of years as more and more people turn to keeping pigeons and other birds as pets.
The number of people bird watching the local birds in their area has also sky rocketed over the last couple of years too so both of these have resulted in more and more questions being asked about pigeons.
One of these questions that we have seen people asking time and time again is about the pigeon dove hybrid and the number of people asking about this specific hybrid bird has been steadily increasing so we wanted to publish a dedicated article on the topic.
The pigeon dove hybrid is real and there are a number of crossbreeds that are from the pigeon and dove lines but they are rare and the process is not as simple as breeding a pigeon with a dove.
Many people who think that they have seen a pigeon dove hybrid have simply seen a baby rock dove or feral pigeon that looks slightly unusual too as real pigeon dove hybrids are rare in nature and are usually bred in captivity.
In addition to this, if you go back to the traditional English meaning of the words pigeon and dove, they were historically used to mean the same birds and this is still the case in some areas.
Due to there being so much confusion around the pigeon dove hybrid, we have decided to publish this dedicated article on the topic to try and help clear up as much of the confusion that we see as possible while answering all of the commonly asked questions we see too.
Are Doves And Pigeons The Same Breed?
Doves and pigeons are both from the Columbidae family of birds so they are related but the Columbidae family contains 344 different species that are divided over 50 different genera.
Some of these 50 different genera are exclusive to pigeons while some are exclusive to doves but there are some that have a crossover of both pigeons and doves and this is where the pigeon dove hybrids can be bred.
As we touched on earlier, the traditional English meaning of the words “dove” and “pigeon” had a large amount of crossover so by sticking to that definition, they are the same breed.
A good example of this is the “Rock dove” shown in the picture above but depending on your area, it can also be known as the rock pigeon and common pigeon even though it is the exact same bird but is not a pigeon dove hybrid, it just has different historical names that have stuck today.
In most areas with modern English, the term “dove” is now used to describe the smaller species within the Columbidae family while the term “pigeon” is used to describe the larger ones so this does throw a spanner in the words by using that system.
If you stick to their scientific classifications though, doves and pigeons are related but are not the same breed with many different types of pigeon not even being from the same genus as other types of pigeon and the same goes for doves so they are not the same breed.
Can Pigeons And Doves Mate?
Pigeons and doves can mate but there are only very specific combinations that can produce fertile eggs with viable embryos that can develop and eventually hatch into a pigeon dove hybrid.
The majority of people who have been able to successfully breed a pigeon dove hybrid have reported a much higher success rate when using a male dove and a female pigeon but in reality, a male pigeon and a female dove can also work.
As we touched on above, both pigeons and doves are from the Columbidae family that has over 344 different species of birds that are divided into over 50 different genera.
For a successful pairing between a pigeon and a dove that can produce a viable egg, both the dove and the pigeon have to be from the same genera or genus.
Our of all 50 different genera within the Columbidae family there are two viable options that contain both doves and pigeons presenting an opportunity to breed pigeon dove hybrids.
These are the Columba genus and the Nesoeanas genus and we will be taking a look at the two below to go over the various viable pairings that can produce a living, breathing pigeon dove hybrid.
The Columba Genus
The most commonly used genus for breeding pigeon dove hybrids is the Columba genus due to the birds in this genus being more popular amongst bird keepers and often much easier to find than the birds in the Nesoeanas genus.
In addition to this, the Columba genus also offers more options when looking to breed pigeon dove hybrids too offering it another advantage.
Here are the lists of the pigeons and doves within the Columba genus.
Pigeons In The Genus
- Hill Pigeon
- Snow Pigeon
- Speckled pigeon
- White-collared pigeon
- Yellow-eyed pigeon
- Somali pigeon
- Common wood pigeon
- Trocaz pigeon
- Bolle’s pigeon
- Laurel pigeon
- Afep pigeon
- African olive pigeon
- Cameroon olive pigeon
- São Tomé olive pigeon
- Comoros olive pigeon
- Speckled wood pigeon
- White-naped pigeon
- Ashy wood pigeon
- Nilgiri wood pigeon
- Sri Lanka wood pigeon
- Pale-capped pigeon
- Silvery pigeon
- Andaman wood pigeon
- Japanese wood pigeon
- Metallic pigeon
- White-headed pigeon
- Yellow-legged pigeon
- Eastern bronze-naped pigeon
- Western bronze-naped pigeon
- Island bronze-naped pigeon
Doves In The Genus
- Rock Dove
- Stock dove
- Lemon dove
As you can see, there are far more pigeons than doves in this genus but it tends to offer the best possible chances of you being able to successfully breed a unique looking pigeon dove hybrid.
Deopending on your area though, some of these birds can be very difficult to find but there are plenty of options in there to try and source if you are set on breeding your own pigeon dove hybrid.
The Nesoenas Genus
The Nesoeanas genus is the only other genus within the Columba genus that contains both pigeons and doves offering a possibility to successfully crossbreed a pigeon dove hybrid.
It is far less likely that you will be able to get the birds required from this genus though but here they are.
Pigeons In The Genus
- Pink pigeon
Doves In The Genus
- Malagasy turtle dove
The genus also contains the now extinct Rodrigues pigeon, Mauritian turtle dove, and Réunion pink pigeon too.
As you can see, with there only being two viable candidates, it is very difficult to breed a pigeon dove hybrid from the Nesoeanas genus so most people go with options from the Columba genus.
How Do You Breed A Pigeon Dove Hybrid?
The easiest way to breed a pigeon dove hybrid is to try and paid a male dove with a female pigeon from the Columba genus.
As we touched on earlier, the rock dove is a bird from the Columbidae family that goes by multiple names referring to it as both a dove and a pigeon even though it is the exact same bird.
Due to this, you can technically use the rock dove (also known as the rock pigeon and common pigeon) on either side of the pairing easier but some people who do specifically try to breed pigeon dove hybrid do consider this cheating due to the rock dove being viable on both sides.
A very niche group of bird keepers will usually only count a pigeon dove hybrid if its dove lineage is from a Stock dove or Lemon dove with the stock dove being more popular due to it being easier to source.
Some people also refer to the Lemon dove as the Cinnamon dove too so this is why you may see some people say they used a Cinnamon dove for their pigeon dove hybrid but most people refer to the animal as the Lemon dove.
There really are a huge number of pigeons as we covered earlier in the article that can be used for the pigeon side of the pairing though so most people just go with whatever is easiest for them to get ahold of when looking for the pigeon lineage.
As we touched on earlier, most people find success by pairing a male dove with a female pigeon and this may be due to the larger pigeons often being aggressive towards the smaller doves if you use a male pigeon and a female dove.
Raising The Pigeon Dove Hybrid
If this is your first pairing then we would highly recommend that you go with a male dove and a female pigeon if possible.
Within the Columbidae family, both parents will care for the young meaning there is no need to separate the parents after breeding as there is with some other hybrids.
The pigeon dove hybrid will usually be ready to leave the nest or breeding box somewhere between the 25 day and 32 day point but in some cases, it may take slightly longer but most pigeon dove hybrids will be able to fly by this point.
If you notice that either parent is being aggressive to the offspring then remove them but this is very rare and in most cases, not required.
Are Pigeon Dove Hybrids Sterile?
Most pigeon dove hybrids do tend to be sterile and unable to produce viable eggs of their own then paired so it is almost impossible to have second generation pigeon dove hybrids.
That said, there are some reports of a pigeon dove hybrid being able to produce a chick but it is very rare and not to be expected.
Still, people who are in the hybrid bird breeding circle can use their adult pigeon dove hybrids as foster parents to incubate eggs in some cases but other than that, they are usually ruled out for future breeding.
Are There Any Downsides To A Pigeon Dove Hybrid?
Other than usually being sterile, it is very rare that a pigeon dove hybrid will have any serious downsides and many pigeon dove hybrids will live a long and healthy life.
Health issues, deformities, and other problems common with racing pigeon lines are often far less common with pigeon dove hybrids as the dove line adds a totally new set of genes to balance out the inbreeding that is common these days.
Depending on your goals, a pigeon dove hybrid created using a stock dove as the dove lineage can often look very similar to a pigeon so this can put people off.
The more unique looking pigeon dove hybrids usually use a lemon dove for the dove lineage to get the unique colors into the offspring to give it more of a unique look.
What Is A Pigeon Dove Hybrid Called?
Although the term “Doveon” has been used to describe a pigeon dove hybrid, most people still just use the term “pigeon dove hybrid” when talking about the birds.
The term doveon was an attempt at a play on words with the dov coming from dove and the on coming from pigeon with the e being an anchor from both names to join the two but it just hasn’t caught on much.
I See Wild Pigeon Dove Hybrids All The Time!
It is actually very rare that you will see a wild pigeon dove hybrid and the vast majority of reports of a pigeon dove hybrid are usually baby feral pigeons or rock doves that still have their young feathers giving them a unique look.
Dirty doves with dirt on their white feathers have also been known to confuse some people and cause them to think that they have a pigeon dove hybrid in their area too.
Another common thing that we see is that people will confuse a white pigeon as a pigeon dove hybrid but this is not the case and we will cover it below.
Are White Pigeons Pigeon Dove Hybrids?
White pigeons are usually not pigeon dove hybrids but pigeons with minimal pigment in their feathers causing them to have their white color.
Although this may sound surprising to some people, it can actually be more difficult to breed white pigeons consistently than to breed pigeon dove hybrids.
This is slowly changing though due to the availability of pigeons with the recessive white gene that essentially turns off pigment production in the feathers becoming more common amongst breeders.
Even then though, the white pigeon has to receive the recessive white gene from both parents so breeding two pigeons that carry the recessive white gene does not guarantee a white pigeon offspring.
There are four other ways to intentionally breed white that are more difficult than pairing two pigeons with the recessive white gene in addition to albino pigeons that will usually have white feathers and pink or red eyes.
Many people confuse white pigeons as pigeon dove hybrids but they are almost always pigeons rather than hybrids.
That brings our article going over breeding pigeon dove hybrids to an end.
We hope that we have been able to help you better understand the process to breed a pigeon dove hybrid as well as why so many people avoid even trying it as the benefits are minimal.
Still, the pigeon dove hybrid is a real thing but much rarer than most people initially think so if you do want to try breed a pigeon dove hybrid, the possibility is there but most people just focus on breeding regular pigeons.