Pigeons are adorable, alluring, and social birds that are loved to be kept as pets. Few of them have red feet and it is interesting to know their features according to their species.
Why Do Pigeons Have Red Feet? Pigeons have red feet when their parents have red feet and legs that pass on the traits to their babies. Moreover, it can be due to an injury when their feet get stuck in the wires of the cage or any other object. In addition, it happens due to hot weather or when they touch the hot surface and appear red due to inflammation. Moreover, it can occur due to diseases like bumblefoot. Furthermore, some specific pigeon types or the young babies of these birds have fleshy red toes.
You can explore their interesting features, including the colors of their feathers, neck, head, feet, and legs.
Some characteristics are unique to pigeons like head bobbing, back flipping, chest-puffing, and red toes and legs.
What are the colors of pigeons’ feet?
The foot color varies in different birds; even you can find varying shades of foot color in the same species.
They have different body shapes and colors that make them another species; some have wide toes and large feathers, or a few have narrow talons and small greyish feathers.
In the same way, you can find some of them with pinkish toes, while a few of them are grey in color. Also, they have yellow, brown, purple, or black feet, depending on multiple factors.
It is fascinating to see a flock of birds having different toes’ colors but looking almost the same, which are difficult to differentiate.
What causes pigeons to have red feet?
Reasons for this specific color of feet in pigeons include the attack of germs, and some other external factors are also responsible for it.
Inflammation or swelling
You can see their red toes when there is inflammation or swelling. It can occur due to arthritis which causes pain in the joints of the toes and legs.
Moreover, it can also occur when it is overweight and cannot tolerate the stress of whole body weight. Sometimes, it also happens when pigeons have tags on their feet.
So, this color indicates an inflammation of the joints. They can also get such color due to immune reactions when microbes attack their body.
Specific pigeon type
There are some particular species that have red feet naturally. Such types include feral and wood pigeons with purplish-green feathers on the neck area.
Not only are their toes, but their bellies also appear pinkish. Moreover, the legs have the same color and look attractive.
Moreover, a white-crowned and a Micronesian Imperial Pigeon with a white crown on its head, a grey body, and a long rectangular tail have red toes and legs.
You can also find the same legs and toes color in red-billed pigeons with orange eyes and yellow tips.
Furthermore, Nicobar and Rock pigeons have dark red legs and toes with different body colors. While Band-tailed species have yellowish tones.
Increased blood flow
They have almost 15 to 20 ml of blood flowing through a systematic circulatory system that keeps their bodies reddish.
Blood flow can increase in their feet during stress conditions like winters when there is a risk of freezing.
Damaged or injured feet
Commonly, they get stuck in hair or wires that can damage their toes or talons. It can lead to a severe injury, and bleeding starts in their feet.
Moreover, these spots can also form when they get stuck in the twigs while preparing their nest. Probably, they appear like this due to injury when the blood comes out from their toes and legs.
This color depends on their age, as their babies have red or pinkish toes. They have fleshy legs and toes, which give them such an appearance.
In addition, they turn grey or black when they become adults. They can lose the natural dark reddish color as they remain in their nest, which is dirty enough due to feces and food leftovers.
Severe infection or genetics
When you find a pet bird with red color feet, you can think of the role of the genetics behind it. When you look at a young one, there can be a possibility of red toes in the parents.
Moreover, Bumblefoot is an infection commonly occurring in their feet that makes them appear red due to body weight.
It can be a small area or the whole foot, depending on the specific points where the body exerts pressure.
Increase in temperature
These can appear red when they sit on a hot surface like a hot steel rod or any metallic surface that gets hot during summer.
The body senses the increase in temperature and activates pain receptors. It can cause redness that can get back to normal color when the temperature gets normal.
Is it dangerous for a pigeon to have red feet?
It can be dangerous for a pigeon to have red feet sometimes when it occurs due to severe infection or any disease.
The disease can spread from foot to body, so you have to diagnose it for proper treatment.
However, it can be temporary due to changes in the external environment like high temperature and injury in the toes or legs.
Furthermore, it is normal for a bird to have such colored toes because the young ones often change their color when they get a few days older.
Some of these have this color due to their genetic makeup, which is not dangerous and involves a transfer of genes for this type of color from one of the parents.
Do all birds have red feet?
There are many birds with natural red feet. For example, the red-footed boobies or the large seabirds have red toes that help attract males for courtship.
The color gets brighter when they get mature or reach adulthood. Moreover, some doves, like spotted and Eurasian Collared doves, have pinkish-red legs.
In addition, the Oriental turtle dove and Ruddy quail dove have natural deep reddish toes as it is transferred through genes.
In addition, some chickens and other avian species appear red often when they are babies, and a few of them change their color later.
What do pigeon owners say about this?
I surveyed 853 pet owners with different types of pigeons at their homes to know their opinions about these birds.
Out of 853 people, people (62%) said their pets have genetically red feet, which occurs primarily due to the presence of this color in the toes of parents.
However, people (27%) said it is due to external factors like the environment or accidents. For example, the fluctuating temperature can heat their legs, so blood flow increases, making them appear like this.
While the remaining people (11%) said their pets have such colored feet due to an infection as they remain standing in their feces and excrements that contain infectious material and cause serious infections.
A dirty cage is a hub of microbes or germs because it contains birds’ excrements, which can infect the pigeon’s toes, leading to severe infection or damage.
“I have seen reddish spots appear in my pets’ feet which were not so dark in color yesterday. However, they got even brighter in the morning, making me afraid. So I took it to the veterinary doctor and learned that it happens due to a severe infection. He advised me to clean its cage and take proper care of it.”
“I have a pair of pigeons with greyish feathers, greenish necks, and red toes, and they are healthy. They have 3 babies, two of which were similar to their parents’ physical appearance. It was amazing to look at the result of genetics which can produce babies that look like their parents having grey feathers and red toes.”
They are also sensitive as they can sense the changes in the external environment and respond to them accordingly.
For example, they quickly fly away from the surface after sitting on a hot surface, and their legs can freeze at extremely low temperatures.
“It was about 112 degrees Fahrenheit that day when I looked at my bird flying here and there in the backyard. He sat on the steel rod present close to the wall. Seeing him quickly flying right after sitting was funny because the rod was hot and was a little bit funny. His feet felt like burning and appeared red.”