How To Tell if a Pigeon is Male or Female

Pigeons, like many other birds, are part of our everyday life. They are seen in urban settings, parks, and even our own backyards. Yet, a common question often asked is, “How can you tell if a pigeon is male or female?” Well, let’s take a deeper dive into the world of pigeons and understand the subtle differences between the sexes.

1. Introduction to Pigeon Identification

Before we get into the specifics, let’s lay down some groundwork. The process of distinguishing male from female pigeons is called “sexing.” It’s not always easy due to their similar appearances, but we’ve gathered some key tips to help.

2. Physical Appearance

Physical features can be a telling factor. However, differences in size, color, or feather structure are not always reliable as they can vary across different breeds.


Generally, male pigeons tend to be slightly larger and heavier than their female counterparts. This difference is usually subtle and might not be the best indicator on its own.

Head and Neck

Males usually have broader heads and thicker necks compared to females. A closer look at these features can provide clues.


In some pigeon breeds, males have brighter, more vibrant colors, especially around the neck region. However, this isn’t a universal rule.

3. Behavioral Characteristics

Pigeon behavior can be a more reliable indicator of gender. Here are a few behaviors to note.

Courtship Behavior

Male pigeons typically engage in courtship rituals. They coo, puff out their chest, and approach the female with a low bow. Females are usually more reserved, but not always!

Nesting Behavior

While both sexes build the nest, the male usually collects the materials, and the female arranges them. Observing this behavior could help in identification.

Feeding of the Young

Female pigeons predominantly feed the young during the night while males do so during the day.

4. Scientific Sex Determination

Sometimes, physical and behavioral clues aren’t enough. In such cases, scientific methods like DNA testing and surgical sexing are used.

DNA Testing

A small blood or feather sample is analyzed to determine the gender.

Surgical Sexing

A small surgical procedure is performed under anesthesia, allowing direct observation of the bird’s reproductive organs.

Remember, these methods should be performed by professionals, as they can cause harm if done incorrectly.

Final Thoughts

While the above tips are helpful, it’s important to note that there are exceptions to every rule. A foolproof method of determining the sex of a pigeon is to consult with a bird expert or avian veterinarian.

So, there you have it! With these tips and techniques, we hope you are now better equipped to distinguish between a male and a female pigeon. Observing and understanding our feathery friends can be a rewarding experience, and this guide will hopefully bring you a step closer to doing so.


  1. Can you tell a pigeon’s gender by its color?
    • Not necessarily. While some breeds have color differences between genders, it’s not a universal trait across all pigeon species.
  2. Do male and female pigeons have different vocal sounds?
    • Males tend to coo more frequently and loudly, especially during courtship, but both genders can produce similar sounds.
  3. Can young pigeons be sexed?
    • Young pigeons are more difficult to sex accurately, as their physical and behavioral traits haven’t fully developed. Scientific methods might be more reliable in such cases.
  4. Is there a guaranteed way to identify a pigeon’s gender?
    • DNA testing and surgical sexing performed by professionals are the most reliable ways to determine a pigeon’s gender.
  5. Do male and female pigeons share parenting duties?
    • Yes, they do. Both sexes participate in nest-building, incubation of eggs, and feeding the young.

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