If you’re a beginner pigeon owner or breeder and are wondering how you can distinguish between a male and a female pigeon, you’ve come to the right place. Contrary to what you may have heard out there, you can’t tell whether a pigeon is a male or female by just looking at its color. So, how do you tell the bird’s gender?
How to tell if a pigeon is male or female:
- You can tell if a pigeon is male or female by closely checking their appearance. Males have a more rounded head, thicker neck, and are larger than females.
- Females tend to have a more flattened head and are generally slimmer and slender than males.
- Male pigeons are also aggressive towards other male pigeons and have a small or no gap between vent bones.
- Females have a big gap between their vent bones which can easily fit your pinky finger.
- During mating rituals, males tend to frequently bow and scrap. Females show acceptance and submission to a male by dropping their wings.
- However, a DNA test is the most accurate way to determine the sex of a pigeon.
This article takes you through a closer look at the various methods you can use to tell apart a male and a female pigeon. We’ll also discuss other related topics such as how to tell if a white pigeon is male or female, how to tell if a baby pigeon is male or female, and more.
How to Tell if a Pigeon is Male or Female:
Knowing how to tell the gender of your pigeons can be challenging whether you’re a beginner or an experienced breeder.
However, it’s also important to accurately identify the gender of your birds especially if you plan to raise your pigeons commercially.
In this section, we’ll share some of the most common methods you can use to tell if a pigeon is a male or female.
One of the most common methods used to determine the sex of a pigeon involves looking at its overall appearance.
Male pigeons are generally larger compared to their female counterparts. They also tend to feature a rounded head and feature thicker necks.
Females, on the other hand, are slimmer compared to males and have a flattened head. Females’ eyes are perfectly round but the males’ eyes are not.
Males also have shorter and broader beaks compared to female pigeons.
Overall, males generally appear more muscular and robust while females are generally more petite.
Check the side toes
The side toes of male pigeons are usually of the same size as the front toes. However, the female side toes are smaller than the front ones.
Don’t confuse the side toe with the back toes (these are generally smaller for both genders).
Females also generally have thinner legs and toes.
Inspect the vent bones
The vent bones of female pigeons feature such a large gap that you can fit your pinky finger. However, male vent bones have pretty small or no gap.
Still on the vent, you should also check the vent edges to get a clue if a pigeon is a male or female.
According to this study, female pigeons have bigger vent edges than males. The female’s vents are oval-shaped and both the lower and upper edges are expanded out.
Male pigeon vents, on the other hand, are horseshoe-shaped, and the lower edge appears less prominent as it’s covered by the upper edge.
Pay attention to their sounds
Both male and female pigeons produce cooing sounds. However, if your pigeon tends to bow its head and scrape its feathers on the ground while cooing, then that is a male pigeon. Females are usually less vocal compared to males.
Hold your pigeon by the wing
You can also try to determine a pigeon’s gender by holding it by its wings and then slightly swinging it. Then, observe how its tail behaves.
If it goes upward, the bird is most likely a female. However, if it stays straight, the pigeon is most likely a male.
Monitor your Pigeon’s behavior
Checking your bird’s behavior can also help you tell its gender. Males tend to be aggressive towards fellow males. Females are generally calm and may only turn aggressive if they feel threatened.
Even if a male is already paired with a female, it’s less aggressive toward a new female pigeon. It’s in the male pigeon’s DNA to always want to chase after new females to try and mate with them. However, females don’t show interest in new males.
This particular behavior can help you easily determine the gender of a new pigeon that you recently introduced in your loft.
While both males and females coo, the males cooing is usually associated with fanning of tails, dancing, and scrapping of the ground.
During courtship, females show submission to the males by dropping their wings.
Pigeons are known to practice monogamous relationships where a pair stays together and takes care of their eggs and young ones.
Males also like feeding the females; this is especially true when the pair is about to mate for the breeding season.
If you observe a pair closely, you may notice the male opening its mouth and regurgitating its feed while the female inserts its beak inside and starts feeding.
The DNA method
While we have discussed different methods of determining the sex of a pigeon, none of them is 100% accurate.
Thus, if you want to be completely sure about the sex of your birds, then the DNA method is the best method to consider.
This test is conducted by analyzing a given pigeon’s blood sample, toenail, or feather. However, this process is a bit time-consuming and requires you to spend some money.
In the United States, it will cost you around $19 to 23. Nonetheless, this is the most reliable and accurate method for pigeon sexing.
Pigeon Gender identification methods that don’t work
Some pigeon keepers also rely on other methods for identifying if a pigeon is a male or female. These methods include the pendulum sexing and flip-and-grip-in-hand methods.
However, these methods just don’t work and you shouldn’t rely on them.
Let’s briefly discuss what each method entails:
- Pendulum sexing: This method involves testing the movement of a pendulum around the head of a pigeon. If the pendulum is moving in a circular path, then the bird is a female. If the pendulum makes back-and-forth movement, then it is a male. The truth about this method is that your pigeon has nothing to do with the pendulum movement. Rather, your hand is responsible for controlling the motion of the pendulum. No scientific evidence has proved the authenticity of this method.
- Flip and grip method: Some pigeon owners believe that if you hold a pigeon facing upside down on your hand, it can also help identify its gender. If the bird jumps and stands immediately, it is a male. However, if it remains in this same position, it is a female.
How to Tell if a Baby Pigeon is Male or Female
Determining the gender of a baby pigeon can be even more challenging since these little ones don’t have the prominent physical characteristics used to tell apart the adult pigeons.
However, there are a few methods you can rely on to give you clues about your baby pigeon’s sex.
One such method involves checking the vent where the bird excretes waste and lays eggs. The vent edges of a female pigeon are bigger than that of a male. The female vent is oval-shaped with both its upper and lower edges expanded out.
A male’s vent edges are shaped like a horseshoe, with the lower edges being less prominent as it’s covered by the upper edge.
You can also check the head of the baby pigeon to determine its gender. If it appears more rounded, then it is a male. However, if it appears flattened, it is a female.
The size may also help you determine the bay pigeon’s gender. Males tend to grow larger than females. However, it’s not easy to note the size difference between the male and female, so you may need to be more observant.
How to Tell if a White Pigeon is Male or Female
The color factor doesn’t help much in determining the gender of a pigeon. In other words, a pigeon can be white but be male or female.
Therefore, to determine the gender of a white pigeon, you should not rely on the male vs. female pigeon color factor.
Instead, you should rely on the general methods we discussed above. These involve checking the bird’s appearance, physical appearance, and behavioral traits towards fellow pigeons.
The most accurate way to determine the gender of your white pigeon is the DNA test. This involves testing the bird’s blood sample, toenail, or feathers to determine its sex.
Yes, female pigeons coo. However, their cooing is usually less loud and less frequent compared to that of males.
Yes, male and female pigeons can fight, but they don’t typically engage in violent fights. Some of the reasons they may fight revolve around courtship and territory.
A male pigeon is called cock or rooster.
Determining the sex of a pigeon is always a challenge for both beginners and experienced breeders. However, after reading this guide, you should now be able to reliably determine the gender of your pigeons. The most common pigeon sexing method involves checking the bird’s appearance and behavior towards fellow birds. Other reliable methods involve checking the gap between vent bones.
However, the DNA method is the most reliable and accurate way to determine the gender of a pigeon. In the case of a baby pigeon, you can use the vent edge method to determine its sex. You can also try to study its appearance to give you clues about its gender. We advise against using gender identification methods such as pendulum sexing and holding the bird in your palm upside down, as they are inaccurate and unreliable.