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Here's Everything You Need To Know About Pigeons, The Most Misunderstood Bird

But they still shit everywhere...including on you.

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When talking about pigeons, many of us immediately think of this:

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The photo's original caption described this thing as a "handsome pigeon", but some people may not agree. Pigeons are sinister-looking creatures that go by the names gutter birds or flying ashtrays.

But did you know that this is also a pigeon?

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This beautiful creature is a Victoria Crowned Pigeon and we can only wish all pigeons looked like this. Sadly, it's only found in the swamp forests of northern Papua New Guinea.

This one appears to have gone swimming and got itself stuck in the corals. But no, it's actually ... a pigeon!

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Meet the English Carrier Pigeon, a breed of fancy, domesticated pigeon common in, well, England. (Side note: Mike Tyson is a pigeon fancier).


And this Instagrammable bird is, you guessed it, a pigeon!

Flickr: Michael MK Khor / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: mk-creatures

The Pink-necked Green pigeon is abundant in Singapore and parts of Southeast Asia. The male pigeons have a more vibrant pink neck than their female counterparts.

We don't have that Insta-ready pigeon in Australia but we have colourful pigeons too.

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This is a Rose-crowned pigeon, a variant of the Pink-necked Green pigeon. It is found in the northern and northeastern parts of the country.

And this too!

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The Purple-crowned Pigeon lives in the coastal areas of Queensland and New South Wales and can be differentiated from the Rose-crowned due to the blue-black band on its chest. It's also known as the Superb Fruit-dove, and it is indeed, superb!

Speaking of doves, did you know that pigeons and doves are the same thing?!

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The common name of this bird is a Laughing Turtle-dove (apparently, they make sounds that are like human laughter, but listen to this video and you tell me). Pigeons and doves come from the same bird family called Columbidae.


But why, you might wonder, are some called doves and others pigeons?

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This one's called a Peaceful Dove, native to eastern and northern Australia. It's colour is very soothing.

Doves tend to have a better rep than pigeons.

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This pretty little thing is a Diamond Dove. They can be found in semi-arid regions in Central, Western and Northern Australia. You wouldn't call this elegant species a flying rodent!

Some say doves are generally smaller than pigeons, but that classification isn't consistent among the species.

Auscape / Getty Images

This li'l birdie is, in fact, a pigeon, named the Green-winged pigeon.

Others say doves are white and pigeons are coloured. This is also NOT TRUE, as evidenced by the photos above.

Auscape / Getty Images

This is a Spinifex Pigeon, and is found in Central and Northern Australia.


The bird experts at Parks Australia told BuzzFeed the Columbidae family isn't broken down into two scientific groups.

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Because there are more birds that are commonly named "pigeon" than "dove" it's just more convenient to call them pigeons. A lot of these birds also have interchangeable names, like this li'l fellow above. It's both a Wompoo Pigeon and a Wompoo Fruit-dove (scientific name: Ptilinopus magnificus).

There are over 300 different species of pigeons in the world, and 25 of them are native to Australia.

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This one is a Crested Pigeon and it's found all over mainland Australia, except in the far north, tropical regions.

Three pigeon species have been declared extinct, one is endangered and three are considered vulnerable.

Neil Bowman / Christmas Island Tourism / Via Instagram: @christmasisland

The Australian pigeons that are now extinct were all wiped out in the 1800s because of hunting (by humans) and the introduction of predators such as cats and weasels.

The Christmas Island Imperial Pigeon (above) is endangered now but Parks Australia said the population seems to be holding steady, largely due to the management of its habitat and predators. Hoorah!

Honestly, pigeons are beautiful, fascinating creatures. #justiceforpigeons

Robin Bush / Getty Images

This one's a Topknot Pigeon, widespread on the east coast. It's been rocking this hairstyle even before humans thought it was cool.