|Size||12-13.5 in (31-34 cm)|
|Speed||Up to 50 mph (80 km/h); 62-75 mph (100-120 km/h) (short distances)|
|Weight||10-14 oz (300-400 g)|
|Lifespan||Up to 35 years|
|Predators||Raccoons, owls, eagles, hawks, opossums|
|Characteristics||Primarily move by walking on the ground|
When we are thinking of pigeons we usually have the picture of a city dove in our minds, but the family of pigeons and doves actually includes more than 300 different species. Many of them live in South Asia and Australia. There are only five species in Central Europe.
The Largest and the Smallest
The largest Pigeon is the Victoria crowned pigeon with a weight of more than 4.4 lb (2 kg) and a size of up to 29 in (73 cm). The smallest species is not larger than a sparrow and weighs only 0.7 oz (22 g).
Letter pigeons can reach speeds of up to 75 mph (120 km/h).
Long Distance Pigeons
Some pigeon species are especially cultured and trained to find their way back home. These pigeons are able to cover distances of more than 620 miles (1,000 km).
Pigeons can clearly see objects that are 22 miles (35 km) away - when there are no clouds in between.
Rather Unusual For Birds
Have you ever watched a bird drinking? It dips its beak into the water and then moves its head back so that so that the water can run down its throat. The bird does not have muscles for swallowing and there is no other way to get fresh water. Pigeons have a different method. They use their beak like a straw to suck water.
Pigeons have very good eyesight. Like humans they can recognize colors and also perceive ultraviolet light.
How does a pigeon find its way home, particularly over unbelievably long distances? It uses the earth’s magnetic fields for orientation.
Stupdi? Not At All
An international team of scientists at the Duke University, North Carolina, USA, found out that pigeons can memorize up to 275 patterns for several years. On photos they can recognize a particular person even in different clothes.