How Long Do Pigeons Live?

Many people keep pigeons at home and use these domestic birds for sending messages, food, and racing competitions. They can live for many years, and every species has a different lifespan.

How Long Do Pigeons Live? Pigeons can live for almost 10 to 15 years on average, but it varies for different species living under varying weather conditions. Moreover, nutrition, genetics, accidental risks, human interference, and the presence of natural predators also affect their lifespan. Pets or domestic birds can survive longer than wild species due to favorable conditions.

Several factors affect a pigeon’s longevity, but you can provide ideal conditions for their long-term survival.

What is the average lifespan of pigeons?

The average lifespan of male and female pigeons is 10 to 15 years in ideal conditions, but it can vary when there are significant changes in the external environment.

However, it varies among birds of different species living in different habitats because their lifespan depends on many external and internal factors.

The rock dove can live for almost 4 to 6 years, while the oriental roller and ice pigeon can survive for 10 years at maximum. In addition, the dragoon pigeon can also live for 6 to 10 years.

However, the helmet, pink, and fantail pigeons have longer lifespans ranging between 10 and 20 years. The racing pigeons can live for approximately 18 to 20 years due to proper care and diet.

The Jacobin pigeons have the longest lifespan among all the birds of this type and reach almost 20 to 22 years when there are lesser risks of attacks and accidents.

Furthermore, the oldest pigeon ever recorded lived for around 24 years in captivity as it gets proper food, water, and shelter that support a longer lifespan.

Examples of types of pigeons with their lifespan and weight

Type of pigeon Lifespan Weight
Rock dove 4 to 6 years 250 to 375g
Oriental roller pigeon 7 to 10 years 290 to 400g
Ice pigeon 5 to 10 years 450 to 600g
Pink pigeon 10 to 18 years 320 to 350g
Fantail pigeon 10 to 20 years 280 to 390g
Jacobin pigeons 20 to 22 years 300 to 350g
Old german owl pigeon 7 to 10 years 270 to 350g
Racing pigeon 18 to 20 years 400 to 450g
Helmet pigeon 12 to 15 years 300 to 350g
Dragoon pigeon 6 to 10 years 330 to 360g
Modena pigeon 8 to 12 years 300 to 340g

What factors determine the lifespan of pigeons?

The lifespan of pigeons depends on several factors, but primarily, it depends on species and their living conditions, as favorable conditions increase the lifespan.

Human interference

Humans are also considered natural predators because they are involved in killing a large number of birds for hunting purposes.

Accordingly, these birds can die earlier before the completion of their lifespan if they become a target of humans having an interest in hunting birds.

In addition, many birds die by colliding with man-made structures or buildings and power lines. Electrocution can occur when they sit on power lines and die due to electric shock.

Almost 300 million to 1 billion birds die every year due to collisions with vehicles, towers, windows, and electric power lines, so pigeons are also prone to human interference.

Furthermore, their lightweight and smaller bodies cannot tolerate a strong hit from a window or a moving vehicle, which leads to sudden death.


The availability of food and food types affects their longevity because they need plenty of food and water during growth stages. They need a balanced diet to maintain health and live longer.

Malnutrition can decrease their lifespan when their bodies do not get healthy nutrients to keep their bodies in working conditions, as it affects their flying and mating efficiency.

Moreover, their immune system gets weaker due to prolonged hunger, which makes them susceptible to diseases and affects their longevity.

Their lifespan reduces when they cannot access essential elements, as they need calcium and proteins in their diet for healthier bones and muscles.

So, healthy pigeons eating nutritious food can survive longer than those having little or no access to food or water and suffering from starvation.

Natural predators

The presence of natural predators in the pigeon’s habitat also determines their survival rate. Their lifespan decreases when there are a lot of larger carnivorous birds in a particular area.

Most commonly, they have a risk of attacks from falcons, sparrowhawks, eagles, and other larger birds that keep an eye on the smaller birds and mostly attack when they are sick or injured.

In addition, some ground animals also threaten their lives, like cats, raccoons, foxes, peregrines, owls, and opossums that can kill them for food or survival.

So, it is not wrong to say that the predators are determinants of their longevity. Predators are also responsible for a population decline as they cannot reproduce well under stress conditions.

Living conditions

The living conditions matter for determining the lifespan of organisms because wild conditions are different and more challenging for birds than domestic conditions.

The pigeons cannot survive long in a wild environment because they have to face many challenges to ensure survival. They have to deal with predators and harsh climatic conditions.

In addition, wild birds have to make efforts for food collection, while those living in captivity get prepared food without any struggle.

Domestic birds have reduced exposure to changing climates as their cage protects them from hot sunrays and cold air in winter.

They need 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit temperature to live, which is easier to maintain in captivity, but the wild species are prone to changing temperatures in different seasons.

Furthermore, they can survive longer if the humidity level is around 45% to 60%, and they have to face problems when it reaches below 40% or exceeds 65%.

Disease or infection

They are also prone to diseases because they eat seeds from the soil, which contains a large number of infectious organisms. These microbes can enter their bodies through food or contact.

In addition, some birds get infected with deadly viruses that can cause earlier death. One example is avian paramyxovirus, which is responsible for illness and a high mortality rate.

Moreover, they can also get sick by their droppings containing harmful bacteria and other germs, like Cryptococcosis and Psittacosis.

Therefore, their lifespan gets shorter if they get sick because they cannot recover from deadly diseases and viral infections.

Can a pigeon live for 20 years?

It is possible for a pigeon to live for 20 years or even more than this duration, according to past records, as one of them lived for almost 24 years.

Moreover, domestic birds or homing pigeons can live for around 10 to 15 years on average because they are less prone to predator attacks and food shortage problems.

Ideal conditions make them live longer, while the wild species can only complete 8 to 10 years of their life as they have to deal with the changing climatic conditions.

Their bodies are directly exposed to sun, ice, rain, and other air elements, affecting their lifestyle and survival rate. Those living in captivity can easily overcome weather issues.

However, the racing pigeons are usually treated like kings because they participate in racing competitions and other shows. So, they can live for 18 to 20 years approximately.

Accordingly, the owners take special care of their diet to ensure that they eat a balanced diet. Furthermore, the breeders keep their cages clean and remove droppings to avoid infection risks.

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