Pigeon Vocabulary

This is by no means a complete list of Pigeon vocabulary terms. In fact, any Pigeon Fancier would think it was appallingly short. My intent is not to turn anybody into an expert, just to give them a working idea of what is being talked about so they can raise Pigeons for meat. If you want to show pigeons, go buy the book!

  • squab - young pigeon, usually 18 days old, butchered for table meat.
  • squeaker - young pigeon that still squeaks, before the voice changes to a coo.
  • fledgling - young pigeon that is just learning to fly. Root word also used as a verb - "to fledge", or "has fledged".
  • yearling - pigeon during the first year of life, usually after the fledgling stage.
  • hen - female pigeon.
  • cock - male pigeon
  • hackle - longer feathered area around the neck, where the neck meets the shoulders
  • vent - holds the sex organs, from which droppings are excreted, and from which female pigeons lay their eggs.
  • clutch - a group of eggs which are being incubated - for pigeons, this means two eggs in the nest.
  • loft - A cage-like structure for pigeons. May be large or small.
  • dovecote - housing for pigeons or doves, may be small or huge.
  • moult - when pigeons lose their feathers prior to growing new ones. This happens once a year.
  • breed standard - each breed has standard characteristics which define that breed as being different from others. This is officially published by the breed society or organization.

  • auto-sexing - this means there are visible differences between males and females, usually color, which display early in life.
  • billing and cooing - part of the mating routine.
  • sport pigeon - any pigeon kept for sporting purposes rather than meat or show purposes.
  • racing pigeon - homing pigeons that are bred and trained for long distance speed races.
  • carrier pigeon - homing pigeons trained as messengers.
  • tippler pigeon - also called "flyers", they fly for long periods of time.
  • roller or tumbler pigeon - they do rolls (summersaults) and aerial spins.
  • fancy pigeon - decorative birds, raised as pets and show birds, often with beautiful colors, interesting feather styles, or other unique appearances.
  • exotic pigeon - usually rare or imported pigeons, often with very unusual appearances. According to the USDA, an "exotic" pigeon is a pigeon that is imported from another country which is non-native. Requires special licensing in some areas.
  • utility pigeon - a pigeon bred for meat or eggs. Not to be confused with "show utility" pigeons, which are utility breeds which have been bred to win at shows, not for utility purposes, and which may have lost much of their practical characteristics.
  • wild pigeon - native pigeons which thrive in the wild. Some may be endangered.
  • domestic pigeon - pigeons which have been domesticated, often tamed, for use as pets, sporting or show birds, or utility birds.
  • feral pigeon - domesticated pigeons which have been turned back into the wild. Common Rock Pigeons are feral pigeons.

Please feel free to email us if you have suggestions for additions. We won't add everything, but we will add those terms which pertain specifically to raising pigeons for meat or eggs.



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