Backyard Birds

Carrier Pigeons

(Columbidae – Please see also Doves)

Pigeon InformationPigeon Intelligence & Amazing FactsSpecies / BreedsBreed Photo Gallery


A carrier pigeons is a breed of pigeon (specifically a domesticated Rock Pigeon, Columba livia) that has wattles, a nearly vertical stature, and that may once have been used to carry messages.

The carrier pigeons of today are not good flyers; they are instead kept as an ornamental or fancy breed, valued for their unusual appearance. They are about 33 cm (about 13 in) in length, with the male generally larger than the female.

They should not be confused with homing pigeons, another variety of Columba livia. Homing pigeons, not carrier pigeons, were used to carry messages in World War I and World War II (“War Pigeons” and are nowadays used for pigeon racing.

The Egyptians and the Persians first used carrier pigeons 3,000 years ago. They also were used to proclaim the winner of the Olympics.

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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