If you’re a pigeon enthusiast and are curious to know about pigeon breeds that have a striking appearance, this article is for you. The world of pigeons is filled with many fancy pigeon breeds whose fascinating body shapes, intricate feather patterns, and striking colors are a treatment of what years and years of selective breeding can give birth to.
The following article takes you through 15 coolest-looking fancy pigeons in the world today. For each breed, we’ll discuss its unique features and characteristics that make it stand out from the crowd. From the fantail pigeon which stands out with an elegantly shaped tail to the jacobin with a hooded head, these pigeons will leave you in awe!
13 Fancy Pigeon Breeds that Look very Cool:
Here’s our compilation of the 13 top fancy pigeon breeds that look cool:
Jacobi pigeons are a popular fancy breed of pigeons and they made it to this list due to their unique appearance.
These birds feature a gorgeous hood, which completely covers their face from both sides. They got their name “Jacobin” as their hood appears similar to that worn by the French Jacobin monks.
Due to their unique looks, these birds are wildly popular all over the planet and are commonly displayed in pigeon shows and exhibitions.
Mind you, Jacobin pigeons were crossed with the fantails to help develop the American fantasy pigeons.
2. Fantail pigeon
The fantails are flashy pigeons that are among the most widely recognizable and popular types of fancy breeds available today.
They stand out due to their peacock-like tails, curved necks, and prominent chests—these features make these birds a hit in bird shows and even fairground livestock shows all over the world.
Far from their flashiness, these pigeons are also used for other purposes. For instance, the racing and homing pigeon breeders are fond of keeping the fantails in front of their dovecote when training their birds.
This is due to their high visibility, which acts as a beacon, helping guide the young birds’ home.
Note that fantail pigeons generally lack the oil-preening gland at their tails’ base. As such, they’re prone to getting cold easily when they come in contact with wetness.
3. Chinese Owl pigeon
The Chinese owl pigeon also goes by the name whiskered owl pigeon and is believed to have originated from Spain.
Though most people tend to think it’s Chinese due to its name, many sources trace its origin to Spain.
The fancy bird has distinctive features such as a distinct frill (called whiskers) that begin around its chest and then run up to its cheeks sides.
The underbelly also features frill feathers. Not to forget, the chin-crest around its neck frontal region.
The bird is believed to have been developed following the crossbreeding with the Spanish chorrera pigeon.
This fancy pigeon was first recognized in 1865 when Germany’s King Porsche bought it and started developing it further.
4. African Owl pigeon
The African owl pigeon traces its origin to Tunisia and was first introduced to England in the 19th century.
Its distinctive short and stout beak is what gives it the name owl pigeon. Moreover, it has a rounded, ball-shaped head appearance.
Just like the Chinese owl pigeon, this bird has a crest of feathers running down its front beast (often referred to as a tie).
5. Reverse-wing pouter
The reverse wing pouter is also referred to as the magpie pouter. This bird is simply a Saxon pouter featuring a magpie-like color pattern.
The pigeon displays similar muffs, stance, and overall behavior as the Saxon pouters.
The bird was developed in the early 19th century. Its recorded history starts at around 1837 and was mentioned in the G. Neumeister book, Everything In Pigeon Brooding.
However, keep in mind that the earliest reverse wing pouter varieties had no nice stance or rich colors.
The breed also goes by other names such as kalotten, Saxon magpie cropper, gansel cropper, and helmet cropper.
6. Archangel pigeon
The archangel pigeon also makes it to our list of the most beautiful fancy pigeon breeds. It stands out with its striking color of iridescent body and contrasting wings that create quite an impressive sight.
The looks of this bird explain why it remained a highly popular fancy pigeon in the Rhine and Germany for many decades.
While the standard breed’s color specifications seem to have changed over the years, its body has remained the same—i.e., a large bird featuring a well-formed head and a proportional beak.
These birds are currently available in multiple color variations. They make ideal starter pigeons for any beginner fancier.
The trumpeters are a diverse breed of fancy pigeons that are showcased for their odd calls and vocalizations. They also go by the name voice pigeons.
Some trumpeter breeds make vocalizations that sound like trumpets while others make laughing or drumming sounds. Nonetheless, they all make sounds that differ from the average pigeon.
Apart from the sound, these birds are also good-looking! For instance, the Bokhara trumpeter appears as if its head has been chopped off and another pigeon squashed beneath its ostentatiously feathered feet.
The Arabian trumpeter, on the other hand, looks like a fairy standard pigeon.
8. Oriental Frill Pigeon
The oriental frill pigeon also falls under the category of owl pigeon breeds. Like its cousins, it has a well-rounded head and a short and stout beak.
The bird is believed to be an ancient Turkish breed and was initially bred in the Manisa Palace for the Ottoman sultans. It also goes by the name Hunkari (meaning the bird of Sultans).
The medium-sized fancy bird also has a compact body and big, round eyes. It also features a broad breast, a short neck, and sturdy wings.
Unfortunately, the short beak of these fancy pigeons makes them poor feeders to their young ones. As such, breeders usually give their babies to surrogate mothers for proper feeding.
9. Scandaroon pigeon
This is probably one of the oldest pigeon breeds available today. It is believed to date back to the days of Alexander the Great and was bred for its looks as well as a utility bird (for food production).
Scandaroon pigeon is characterized by a large bill that curves downward and is covered by a large wattle (i.e., a knobby fleshy covering) on the top part. It also has bright and accented eyes that are encircled by well-developed ceres.
These birds are partly white though some varieties are piebald. They also appear larger than the average pigeons you see in the parks and streets.
10. Satinette pigeon
The Satinette pigeon falls under the oriental frills fancy pigeons category. This bird has been around for centuries and its history is recorded from the Ottoman era.
The bird is believed to have originated from Turkiye. It’s said that Turkish sultans loved this bird and this explains why the bird is sometimes referred to as Hunkari (meaning the bird of sultan).
The bird was only limited to the Turkish Sultan until around 1864 when it was first introduced to the UK.
It would later be brought to America in 1986. These birds have played a crucial role in the development of the Seraphim pigeon.
11. Ice pigeon
Feral pigeons are generally associated with gray plumage and green and purple painted necks. However, this domesticated fancy pigeon breed has icy blue plumage (hence its name ice pigeon).
The bird is believed to have originated from Germany around the 19th century. It was developed following the selective breeding of a variety of other pigeon breeds, including the Cumulet and the German Pouter.
Besides the unique coloration, this bird has an exuberant plumage covering its feet. It also sports a smooth, slightly oblong head. Most people keep these birds for show purposes or as pets.
12. Capuchine red pigeon
The Capuchine pigeon is also a popular fancy breed that stands out due to its elaborate head crest.
It has a group of feathers around its neck and its white face appears like some sort of natural snood. This brings it closer in appearance to the Jacobin pigeon.
The Capuchine breed is thought to have been introduced to Holland from India around 1500 by the Dutch sailors. From here, the bird was refined by Dutch breeders to become a prized show bird.
13. Saxon fairy swallow pigeon
The Saxon fairy swallow pigeon, also known as spot swallow, traces its roots to the Saxon state of Germany.
Though there isn’t much info on when this breed was developed, it’s strongly believed it has existed for several centuries.
The bird was first introduced to USA around 1868. Some breeders then worked on it and this led to the production of new color patterns.
Today, the bird is available in a wide variety of colors and is considered one of the coolest-looking fancy pigeon breeds in the world.
It stands out with its unique marking and 3-layer feathers on its feet. Its name fairy swallow comes from the sea swallows or terns, which usually have white bodies, colored wings, and a cap on the head.
There are more fancy pigeons across the globe than you can count. However, the top 13 birds we have mentioned above are the most popular breeds due to their cool looks and unusual features. As you may have noticed, each of these birds has a set of distinct features and characteristics that makes it stand out from the rest.
Most of these birds have also been around for many years and have been developed into several sub-breeds of color variations. These pigeons are quite popular not just in the US but other parts of the world. They’re commonly used in pigeon shows and exhibitions. If you’re interested in pigeon pets, you may also consider keeping them as pets.