The African owl pigeon is one of the few African pigeons found across various regions of the globe. This bird is known for its short beak and round head that looks like an owl, hence the name owl pigeon. This distinct feature makes it stand out and qualifies it as a show bird.
Moreover, the African owl pigeon is calm, docile, and friendly—making it a great pet for pigeon and bird lovers.
Our article below comprehensively covers everything you need to know about this breed of pigeon from Africa. You’ll discover interesting details like its history and origin, physical appearance, behavioral traits, diet, housing, suitability as a pet, and so much more.
African Owl Pigeon Quick Facts:
|Scientific name||Columba livia domestica|
|Other names||Foreign Owl|
|Breed name||African Owl|
|Breed purpose||Exhibition, pets|
|Cost||$50 to $200+|
Origin and history
The African owl pigeon originated in Tunisia. It was not imported to England until the late 19th century.
On arrival in England, the pigeon was referred to as a foreign owl to help distinguish it from another owl pigeon owl that was already existing in the region.
The “old” owl pigeon then became known as the English owl pigeon.
One major difference existing between the two types of breed is that the African breed appears smaller than its English relative.
Like other pigeon breeds, this fancy breed of pigeon is a result of years of selective breeding and is a descendant of the dove pigeon.
African Owl Pigeon Appearance
The African owl pigeon’s most distinctive feature is a short beak whose size and shape give it the name “owl.” Its beak is also slightly curved downward, just like that of the owls!
It is similar to other owl breeds of pigeons in that it features a jabot/tie/cravat—this is simply a crest of feathers that run down the front part of its breast.
Its body is medium size and appears short and plump. It also has a broad chest and muscular wings that enable it to fly fairly well, though not as good as highflyers or tipplers.
Its head is large and smooth and doesn’t have any rough feathers. The pigeon’s eyes are usually round, large, and expressive. The head sits atop a short neck.
This bird has a short and pointed tail that sits close to its body.
Its legs appear strong and short. The legs are also bare and not covered with feathers like the Lahores, modern frills, and other birds. Its feet are large and well-adapted for perching.
As with many other pigeon breeds, the African owl pigeon comes in multiple color varieties. The most common ones include black, blue, yellow, red, white, brown, and more. Some varieties also feature patterns or markings on their feathers.
Check the video below on the various colors and markings the African owl pigeons come in
Behavior and temperament
Just like other pigeon breeds that are descendants of the rock dove, the African owl pigeon has a calm and docile nature.
It is also sociable and enjoys the company of other birds of its kind as well as interaction with its owners.
This bird doesn’t display aggressive and territorial behavior. And you can keep it as a pair or in a small group of birds without worrying about fights erupting between them.
However, this bird isn’t active and you’ll mostly find it perching as it observes its surroundings.
The pigeon is also not highly vocal but will likely make some chirp and soft coos when it’s content or want to communicate with other birds.
African Owl Pigeon diet
A healthy and balanced diet is essential for keeping your African owl pigeon in good shape and healthy.
Proper diet for African owl pigeons is typical of what any other pigeon eats and should be comprised of a mixture of grains and seeds. You can also supplement this diet with fresh fruits and veggies.
You can get high-quality commercial birdseed or mix up the seed and grains on your own
However, keep in mind that the bird’s short beak limits it to only eating small seeds and not long ones such as sunflower seeds.
Providing grit to your pigeons is also necessary to aid in food digestion.
Above all, you should provide your bird with clean water. Refresh water daily by cleaning its water dosh and adding clean and fresh water every day.
African Owl pigeons as pets
This African breed of pigeon is quite calm and docile in nature, which makes it a suitable breed for keeping as a pet. It’s also sociable, so you can add it to your existing flock of other pigeons. Add to its beauty, and it only gets better as a pet for any pigeon or bird fancier.
That said, this breed requires proper care to keep it in good shape and healthy. Essentially, it requires a proper diet that’s rich in all the important nutrients and vitamins its body requires. It should also have access to clean and fresh water at all times.
You should also provide your bird with a comfortable living space that’s both spacious and clean (it ought to be cleaned regularly to keep away disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms).
Lewis Wright recommended in his book The Practical Pigeon Keeper that they should be housed in a well-ventilated loft free of draught and dampness due to their delicate nature.
Since these are sociable birds, you should interact with them regularly. And at the same time, monitor it and if you notice any change in behavior such as lethargy, take it to the vet ASAP for treatment.
Even better, take your birds for regular vet checkups. The vet can catch diseases in their early stages and stop them right in their tracks in addition to offering you professional tips for keeping your bird healthy.
Things aren’t much different when it comes to breeding in African owl pigeons. It all starts with putting a pair together which then mate naturally.
The female typically lays 2 eggs per clutch which hatch after an incubation period of around 17 days.
Unlike most pigeon breeds, however, the African owl pigeon isn’t a good feeder for its young ones due to its “faulty” short beak. (Source).
As such, you’ll need to jump in and hand-feed the chicks of this pigeon.
Some owners also prefer fostering the bird’s eggs to other breeds that make reliable parents for their offspring.
But hand feeding isn’t a bad idea if you think about it. It gives you a chance to feed the birds proper nutrition while also allowing for taming process at an early age.
Also, this breed of pigeon features recessive genes which makes controlling the produced offspring quite a challenge for breeders.
The average African owl pigeon cost is anywhere from $50 to $200, though the price can go higher for some color varieties. Key factors likely to affect the cost of this bird include the breed quality, the breeder you buy from, and your location.
We recommend doing your own research before buying your birds to ensure you buy from a reputable breeder. This will increase your chances of getting high-quality breeds that are well-cared for and healthy at a fair price.
African Owl Pigeon lifespan
The average lifespan of the African owl pigeon is around 10 years. Its life expectancy is heavily influenced by the type of diet, living conditions, and health care it revives. The bird can live longer if you give it proper care and attention.
We advise you to feed your bird a healthy and balanced diet if you want it to live for many years. Additionally, you should house it in comfortable housing that’s cleaned regularly to keep away diseases.
Above all, you should take your birds to the vet for regular checkups to keep them in good health and ensure longer life.If you’re interested in learning more about different pigeon breeds, you might find our articles on Old German Owl pigeons and Tippler pigeons helpful. Our article on Old German Owl pigeons explores the breed’s history, features, and care, including tips on feeding, breeding, and housing. Meanwhile, our article on Tippler pigeons provides an in-depth look at these fascinating birds, including their unique flying abilities and tips on how to train and care for them. Don’t forget to also check out our article on African Owl pigeons for more information on this amazing breed.
The African owl pigeon is one of the top pigeon breeds from Africa that is found in other parts of the wild as domesticated birds. They’re easily recognized by their round heads and short beaks which give them an appearance similar to that of an owl. They also have an overall beautiful appearance which makes them popular show birds.
Besides, the birds have a calm and docile nature, in addition to an affectionate personality, and are usually kept as pets. They’re non-aggressive and can exist peacefully with other breeds or in flocks without fighting. With proper care, these birds will stay happy and healthy and offer you up to 10+ years of companionship.