Many people consider doves and pigeons as the same type of birds, having a lot of similarities in their physical features and sharing habitats.
Moreover, they do not find mating between pigeons and doves unusual because the homing pigeons are commonly known as rock doves.
Can Pigeons and Doves Mate? Pigeons and doves can mate as they share the same family Columbidae, live in common habitats, and both have peaceful natures. However, they would rarely mate because they prefer to spend their life with a single partner and have a difference in size and unequal chromosome number, making them unsuitable for producing offspring.
Most probably, you would think that they prefer to mate and produce their offspring, but they do not breed with each other commonly.
Furthermore, pigeon and dove names are used interchangeably by a few people who do not know about the difference in their genetics and taxonomic difference.
Is it possible for a pigeon to mate with a dove?
Pigeons do not prefer to mate with doves and other bird species. However, a few similarities are there in both types of birds that create a possibility of mating.
A specific combination of a male dove and female pigeon or vice versa helps them produce hybrid offspring.
It is difficult to identify the physical differences between the two as many people consider them similar organisms with two different names.
Both of them are closely related; that’s why their names are widely used interchangeably.
Furthermore, it is possible to breed these two bird species as their physical similarities attract them to each other.
They produce hybrid offspring in a specific breeding chamber that shares the physical features of both male and female partners.
Similar habitat and nature
There is a possibility of mating in doves and pigeons due to similarities in habitat as both wild species prefer to live in forests while a few of them are accustomed to living inside cages.
In addition, they are not aggressive and live in a friendly manner; that’s why there is a possibility of healthy interaction between them, leading to the fertilization of eggs.
Furthermore, interaction is obvious when they live together, and they would mate if they have only two options for mating or avoid mating with any other bird species.
No scientific distinction
There is no scientific distinction as they belong to the same taxonomic family that is Columbidae, having multiple genera and species.
Some members of the Columbidae family are known as doves, while another group consists of birds called pigeons. Their family is the same, but genera and species are different.
The interspecies cross is common among animals and birds, producing hybrids sharing the characteristics of both birds.
It is challenging for a single bird to deal with all the crucial tasks of the nests and feed the young ones in addition to providing protection.
They begin to search for another partner in their surroundings to mate and increase their progeny. It helps them multiply in number and manage the tasks with cooperation.
Why do pigeons and doves avoid mating?
Doves and pigeons are loyal partners and spend their whole lives with a single partner. Both of them are monogamous, which means they do not change their partner until it dies.
They prefer to shift towards a new mate only when the older one dies, and the survivor has to manage the nest alone. After that, they would like to spend their whole lives with a single partner.
You can consider that their monogamous nature is not pure as they can find different partners at some stage of their lives.
However, it does not happen until their partner is alive, able to breed, and perform nest tasks.
Furthermore, they have an unequal number of chromosomes as pigeons have 40 pairs of chromosomes, while doves have only 38 or 39 pairs of chromosomes.
It is genetically impossible to produce a hybrid as it creates difficulty when chromosomes separate during metaphase.
They have to align in the mitosis process, but this unequal chromosome number makes it difficult to produce fertile offspring or introduce diversity to these species.
In addition, these feathered birds look similar at first sight, but a few of their physical features help distinguish them from each other.
They have different body sizes, like pigeons have larger bodies compared to them. However, doves have longer tails, while pigeons have shorter ones.
So, all these genetic and physical factors are responsible for fewer chances of mating between them.
This interspecies cross-breeding is rare to observe, but some people have seen their hybrids and tested their mating in breeding chambers when they were kept in captivity.
When do pigeons and doves mate?
Pigeons mate with doves rarely under specific circumstances when they have no other suitable option to raise their population.
Many people breed both birds for specific purposes by putting them inside a breeding cage. They would mate together when they do not find relevant partners inside the cage.
Moreover, doves mate for their life and mourn over their deceased partner. However, they begin to search for another available mate in their surroundings after some time.
They share a common habitat as both can be kept inside cages and consume the same food type, like seeds and grains.
So, there is a maximum possibility of breeding and fertilizing eggs when they are present in the same place.
Can you keep pigeons and doves together?
It is possible to keep pigeons with doves together at the same spot because they are not aggressive towards each other.
They have friendly and relaxing nature and do not fight commonly. However, they can only attack each other to obtain food when there is a shortage of resources inside the cage.
Both of these feathered creatures share many characteristics and belong to the same family; that’s why they have a little bit of attraction.
One of my friends had placed doves in a cage of pigeons to see whether they mate or stay separate from each other, but they did not mate even after 2 to 3 days.
Furthermore, it is uncommon to see them mating together, but it can be done in rare cases when they have dead partners.
Most of these bird species live together in tropical and subtropical forests sharing a common habitat.
Additionally, the oceanic islands have both of these feathered birds that have evolved separately.