Rock Pigeon

Columba livia
Range Map (Native dark red, Feral pink)

I’ve consciously bypassed opportunities to photograph this common feral species in the past. I was recently given a list of birds to capture for an upcoming publication that required the inclusion of this species, so the images below are the result.

Early 17th century European colonists brought these birds with them when they settled in New England. Wild Rock Pigeons are native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia. Artificial selection by humans gave rise to domestic birds. Domestic birds readily go feral, and have done so extensively throughout the world.

Today, taxonomists recognise nine subspecies of Rock Pigeon (formerly Rock Dove):

  • C. l. livia lives in Iceland and in southwestern Europe, east to the Ural Mountains and southwestern Siberia, and south and east to the Caucasus. They are also found in Macaronesia and northern Africa, north of the Sahara, east to Egypt.
  • C. l. gymnocycla lives in west Africa from Mauritania and Senegal east to southern Mali and Nigeria.
  • C. l. targia lives in highlands of the central Sahara from Hoggar Mountains of northern Mali and southern Algeria east to Sudan.
  • C. l. dakhlae lives at oases in western-central Egypt.
  • C. l. schimperi lives in Nile Valley of Egypt and Sudan and east to the Red Sea.
  • C. l. palaestinae lives on the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas, north to Israel and Jordan.
  • C. l. gaddi lives in southwestern Asia from Azerbaijan and western Iran east to Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan.
  • C. l. neglecta lives in the highlands from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan east across Pakistan and northwestern India to southwestern Tibet.
  • C. l. intermedia lives across India and on Sri Lanka.

Click map markers to reveal further information