Can Pigeons Smell? 9 Facts You Should Know!

Sukanya Chakraborty

Can Pigeons Smell? 9 Facts You Should Know!

Pigeons belong to the family Columbidae. They are small-sized birds that have several hundred species variations. Let us find out a significant trait of theirs.

Pigeons are found to have an impeccable sense of smell. This feature they generally use for travel, not to look for food. The existence of olfactory bulbs helps them to retain a strong scent and to navigate their roadmap. Their smelling capability is different from other birds, who use it for food hunting. 

Their excellency in olfactory features along with its implication in several ways make them stand out in their category. Let us discuss about their smelling power more.

How Far Can Pigeons Smell

There is a whitish structure called ‘cere’ present in the case of pigeons which protects and consists of the two nostrils. Let us study how far can pigeons smell.

A recent study suggests that a pigeon can smell a distance of up to 200 kilometers or something more to it. They have a very good perception of a smell. With the help of this ability, pigeons can fly over a hundred miles or kilometers.

The pigeons used to create an odor map of their neighborhoods which helps them to navigate during their travel.

What Smell Do Pigeons Dislike

Pigeons also have some preferences for the smell. Something they like the most and the smell of certain things irritates them the most.

The pigeons dislike the smell of mothballs the most. Pigeons avoid the places where mothballs are present. The smell of essential oils and the sour smell of vinegar also irritates the pigeons. Also, the smells emitted from petroleum products and glue and paint are also disliked by the pigeons.

See also  Black Pigeons: 3 Facts About Them

What Smell Do Pigeons Like

Pigeons love the smell of food like the other avians. They also love the smell of the neighborhoods by which they can travel over a hundred kilometers. 

The smell of their own excretory product is also liked by them and by this they can identify their place of belonging.

Can Pigeons Smell Things & Objects

Pigeons can smell objects and things. They use this ability for their navigation while traveling a long path. Pigeons are not familiar with the smell of particular things and objects. 

Can Pigeons Smell Food

Pigeons can smell food. Pigeons get close to the food particles by smelling the stuff that indicated the presence of the food. They find food particles not only using their olfactory senses but also using their remarkable memories. The smell of cumin, onions, and black peppers is used to trash them away.

Can Pigeons Smell Water

Pigeons can smell water. They can smell the water and have the capability to decide whether the water is off or stagnant. By using this ability pigeons like to have water from clear sources as possible.

Image Credit: Feral Pigeons by Dinesh Valke licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Can Pigeons Smell Fear And Danger

Pigeons can particularly smell the fear. They can see up to 320 degrees without moving their heads. They also use to look simultaneously for upcoming predators while feeding, when their heads are down.

Can Pigeons Smell Humans

Humans are usually irritated by the presence of pigeons in their houses. Let us see if pigeons can smell humans or not.

Pigeons can smell humans. As they have very small olfactory systems so they can only identify the smell of the owner only. As they grow up in civilized society, pigeons are the first domesticated bird, so they are not afraid of humans at all.

See also  Do Pigeons Migrate In Winter? 7 Facts You Should Know!

The pigeons are usually not confused by the changing outfit of the person. They can identify them with their remarkable ability of smelling.


The major point is that pigeons have a very sensible olfactory system. They can travel over a hundred miles just using this ability. These make them different from the other avian.

Leave a Comment