A Roller Pigeon has a remarkable propensity to execute rolls while in flight. This pigeon breed is considered singular and exceptional due to its aerobatic displays.
So what are the top roller pigeon breeds out there? Birmingham Roller, Galatz Roller, Oriental Roller, and Parlor Roller top the list of roller breeds. These pigeons are a staple for breeders and exhibitors alike. They are different from each other.
If you want to understand these pigeons, characteristics like appearance, use, temperament, etc., are crucial. Moreover, caring for these pigeons need extra attention. Keep reading to know more.
Top 4 Roller Pigeon Breeds at A Glance
Here’s a table to give you a brief idea about everything you need to know about the top 4 Roller Pigeon breeds out there.
|Birmingham Roller||Compact and muscular body, a plain head and a short beak||Blue, black, silver and red||Male: 9.5 oz Female: 8.5oz||Tight, rolling spins in the air||Active, intelligent and friendly|
|Galatz Roller||Compact body, round breast, and a short neck and legs||Blue, black, yellow and red||0.7 lb on average||Somersaults, pirouettes, and screws||Friendly and sociable|
|Oriental Roller||14-16 tail feathers, upturned tails and wings below||Yellow, silver, and buff colors||280g to 400g||Aerial tricks including somersaults, rolling, nose dives, etc||Nervous flying style but gets friendly after adjusting|
|Parlor Roller||Similar in size to wild pigeons and have a rounder head||Red, yellow, bronzy black, white splashes, almond and DeRoy||7 to 8 oz||Ground somersaulting||High degree of tameness and trust towards their handlers|
What Are The Top 4 Roller Pigeon Breeds?
The most popular breeds of the roller pigeon are
- Birmingham Roller
- Galatz Roller
- Oriental Roller
- Parlor Roller
Let’s learn about them in detail.
1. Birmingham Roller
The Birmingham Roller pigeon hails from the city of Birmingham, England, and its name is a nod to its birthplace. This domesticated pigeon breed is famous for its acrobatic abilities in flight, achieved through selective breeding.
By following a proper diet and receiving the right training, these birds are able to perform stunning backward flips mid-flight. Their spins appear so fast that they resemble feathers in a whirlwind.
When in the air, Birmingham Rollers flock together, creating a mesmerizing spectacle known as a “kit.”
Additionally, there is a breed of Birmingham Roller specifically bred for shows, referred to as the “show type.” This variety is larger than the “flying type” but is not meant for flight and is only used for exhibitions.
Let’s look at the distinct features of these birds
Appearance: Birmingham Rollers have a compact and muscular body, a plain head and a short beak. They come in a variety of colors including blue, black, silver and red. Its whole body structure is well-proportioned for flight and acrobatics.
Weight: The male pigeon weighs about 9.5 ounces and female ones weigh around 8.5 ounces. Weights vary in different strains in the United States.
Flying abilities: This breed is prized for its aerial acrobatics and ability to perform tight, rolling spins in the air.
Temperament: Birmingham Rollers are active, intelligent and friendly pigeons, making them popular with breeders and hobbyists.
Use: Historically, Birmingham Rollers were bred for their aerial acrobatics. Today they are still often used for this purpose in pigeon racing and shows. They are also commonly kept as pets and can be trained to perform various tricks.
2. Galatz Roller
This roller pigeon originates from Galaţi County in Romania. Thus, its name is a nod to its birthplace. Fanatics of these acrobatic birds can be found in countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Romania.
The breed has evolved to include strains that focus on soaring high and flying long, much like a tippler. So, the more traditional acrobatic strains can still be found in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany.
During competitions, roller pigeons perform as part of a fascinating “kit” consisting of three birds. They showcase their acrobatics for a startling 30 minutes while flying near their coops, which can be quite exhausting.
Trainers use signals, such as aural, optical, or dropper, to teach these pigeons when to come down. The signal is treated as a cue for feeding time and the birds are conditioned to recognize it.
Roller pigeons are highly productive breeders, and even as young as one week old, they can prompt their parents to mate again. Just one week later, the female will lay another set of eggs, making them a continuously thriving species.
Now we will look at the characteristics of these pigeons
Appearance: This pigeon also comes with a compact body, breast that is round, and a short neck and legs. The beak is not too long nor too short. They come in a variety of colors, including blue, black, yellow and red.
Weight: This pigeon weighs around 0.7 pounds on average.
Flying abilities: The air acrobatics this pigeon can perform is usually of three categories- somersaults, pirouettes, and screws. First, they learn pirouettes and gradually, they learn somersaulting.
Temperament: In terms of temperament, they are generally considered to be friendly and sociable birds that can make good pets.
Use: Pigeon clubs in Europe stage competitions in which acrobatics are carried out by each team of these pigeons are recorded. The one with higher acrobatics win. These pigeons are also frequently kept as domesticated animals.
3. Oriental Roller
The Oriental Roller is a magnificent breed of fancy pigeons, carefully crafted through selective breeding for many years. Its roots can be traced back to the common rock pigeon, also known as Columba Livia.
Interestingly, these pigeons, much like some Amazonian parrots and other dove species, lack the uropygial gland. It is a crucial gland found at the base of the tail that produces preening oil for feathers in psittacine birds.
Despite this, Oriental Rollers have a unique adaptation – they can secrete oil from specialized quills to keep their feathers healthy and in prime condition. However, it’s important to protect them from harsh environments that may host parasites.
A charming feature of these birds is their neck-shaking mannerism. However, it’s a rare trait and only appears in certain individuals due to its recessive nature.
Here are some of the features of these breeds
Appearance: Oriental Rollers are larger pigeons than Birmingham Rollers, with upturned tails and wings below. They have 14-16 tail feathers, compared to the 12 in most pigeons. The Oriental Roller can show yellow, silver, and raw colors.
Weight: When fully grown, this pigeon can measure between 280g to 400g in weight.
Flying abilities: The Oriental Roller pigeons are known for their aerial tricks, including somersaults, rolling, nose dives, unexpected flight changes, and axial turns. The duration and height of their flights vary by breed, with some soaring as high as 1000m while others can fly for hours.
Temperament: The Oriental Roller may fly in a nervous manner, but this does not reflect their overall personality. The bird is confident and friendly when familiar with humans, different birds, and the outdoors. This makes it ideal for training like group or solo flying.
Use: Oriental Roller pigeons are known for their flying abilities and are mainly bred for flight. Their acrobatics and unique flying style make them a favorite for those who appreciate flight artistry. They are selectively bred and trained for optimal flight performance, tantalizing viewers with solo or group flights.
4. Parlor Roller
The Parlor Roller is an awe-inspiring breed of domesticated pigeon that has been enchanting fanciers for generations. These magnificent birds are also descendants of the mighty rock pigeon (Columba livia).
They have been selectively bred to showcase their unique rolling somersaults on the ground. Adult Parlor Rollers are not known for their flight capabilities.
Nonetheless, they are still revered as part of the flying/sporting team by pigeon enthusiasts in the United States. This is because their competitions are centered around their rolling prowess, with their physical appearance being a secondary, though still impressive, factor.
The Parlor Roller breed is a remarkable evolution from the Parlor Tumbler, crafted through meticulous selective breeding. Have a look at this video to get an idea of how they roll
Here are some of the attributes of these breeds
Appearance: These birds are similar in size to wild pigeons and have a rounder head. They lack the color blue and its shades. The most frequent hues are vibrant red, sunny yellow, the shimmering bronzy black of a kite, white with captivating splashes, almonds and the mesmerizing DeRoy.
The eyes of these pigeons are known for their exquisite pearlescent appearance.
Weight: The Parlor Rollers weigh from 7 to 10 ounces on average.
Temperament: As adults, Parlor pigeons are unable to engage in flight. Thus, they tend to exhibit a high degree of tameness and trust toward their handlers. Additionally, they tend to nest on the ground and exhibit a strong devotion toward their offspring.
Use: Parlor Rollers are specially bred for their unique talent of performing backflips. They are trained by fanciers who initiate their backflipping motion by rolling them around with their hands.
The birds can continue to perform the rolling motion for a considerable distance, with the current record being 662 feet.
Roller Pigeon Breeds Care
The caring procedure is almost identical for all the common roller breeds. Here are some measures you can take.
- As with any pigeon, Rollers require proper care and nutrition
- This includes providing them with a spacious and clean living environment
- Regular exercise, a proper feeding schedule and a balanced diet consisting of grains, vegetables, and fruits are also important
- Provide warm and nutritious food 2-3 times a day, with fresh water available at all times
- Adjust the feeding schedule if the pigeons fritter food or don’t eat enough
- Offer fresh water in the morning and feed them in the morning or noon, with the last meal prior to sunset
- Galatz Rollers are prolific breeders and this trait requires attentive care in addition to common roller pigeon care procedures
- You need to be calm about the nervous flying styles of Oriental Rollers and the rest will be fine
- As Parlor Rollers can’t fly like other common roller breeds, you need to give them proper attention
Tips for Choosing a Roller Pigeon Breed
If you are thinking of becoming an owner of such a breed, here are some useful tips you can keep in mind.
Consider the space available in your home and choose a breed that fits.
- Select a breed that is friendly and easy to handle if you are a novice pigeon breeder
- Research each breed’s specific needs to ensure you can provide for them
- Consult experienced breeders for their recommendations
- Observe different roller pigeon breeds in action to understand their behavior and flight patterns
Let’s discuss some of the frequently asked questions related to roller pigeon breeds.
Ans. Yes, roller pigeons can make good pets, but it is important to provide them with plenty of space to fly and exercise.
Ans. Roller pigeons are known for their acrobatic abilities and their ability to perform somersaults in the air. While other pigeon breeds are known for their homing abilities and beauty.
Ans. The best way to train a roller pigeon is to start at a young age and to provide regular and consistent training sessions using positive reinforcement.
Ans. Tumbler and Roller pigeons are two separate breeds of pigeons that possess unique characteristics and flight patterns. Tumbler pigeons are known for their acrobatic tumbling and spinning abilities. On the other hand, Roller pigeons are recognized for their rolling flights.
Roller pigeons are attractive, friendly and low-maintenance birds that make great pets. The article provides detailed information on 4 popular roller pigeon breeds, as well as tips for choosing the right breed for you based on your living space and experience level.
The article also highlights the key characteristics of the top 4 roller breeds. Whether you are a seasoned pigeon enthusiast or a beginner, this article is an invaluable resource for those interested in keeping roller pigeons as pets.