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

Piyali Das

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

Pigeons are one of the most famous birds, belonging to the family Columbidae. There are about 344 species found under this. Let us know if pigeons migrate in winter or not.

Domestic pigeon or rock dove, that is the Columba livia, does not migrate in winter. There are more than 1000 breeds of Columba livia found all are non-migratory. Apart from them, there are some pigeon species such as the mourning dove, wood pigeon, passenger pigeon, yellow-eyed pigeon, etc migrate in winter.

Why pigeons don’t migrate?

Domestic pigeons which are also known as rock doves or rock pigeons do not migrate in search of food and shelter during winter. Let us know why pigeons do not migrate.

Most non-migratory pigeons are found in temperate climatic regions or where winters are not extreme. They adapted themselves to tolerate climatic changes. They possess thick plumage that protects them from cold. During winter they roost together to prevent colds as well. That is why they do not migrate.

In the case of pigeons, it is seen that they mostly do not tend to change their habitat at any cost. They imprinted on the area they live in and always return there. That is why most pigeon species who can survive the winters do not go for migration.

Image credit: Rock dove (Columba livia) by Anton Croos (CC BY-SA 3.0) from Wikimedia commons 

Do pigeons ever migrate?

Migration is a seasonal movement where birds fly from their regular habitat to another place for the need of food and shelter. Let us know if pigeons ever migrate or not.

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Some specific pigeon species migrate during the winter in search of a favourable warmer place where they can find sufficient food and suitable shelter. Some migratory pigeon species are- the mourning dove, common wood pigeon, passenger pigeon, yellow-eyed pigeon, European turtle dove, band-tailed pigeon, etc.

Image credit: Passenger pigeon by James St. John (CC BY 2.0) from Wikimedia commons 

Where do pigeons go in the winter?

Pigeons are found all over the world, and some of them are migratory in nature. Let us find out where do pigeons go in the winter.

In winter when the environment becomes unfavourable, migratory pigeons go to a warmer place where they have sufficient food and a favourable environment to live. Common wood pigeons from northern and eastern Europe migrate southwards often passing through Britain on the way.

Yellow-eyed pigeons from southern Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and north-east Iran migrate southwards to Pakistan, and north-western India in winter.

Do wood pigeons migrate?

Wood pigeon or Columba palumbus is one of the most common pigeon species found in western Palearctic regions. Let us find out if wood pigeons migrate or not.

Wood pigeons are partially migratory birds. That means some of them show migration whereas the rest are non-migratory. Wood pigeons found in southern and western Europe, and the UK are non-migratory. But those found in western Asia and northern and eastern parts of Europe migrate during winter.

Image credit: Common wood pigeon (Columba palumbus) by Tristan Ferne (CC BY 2.0) from Wikimedia commons 

Do pigeons migrate to UK?

There are some migratory pigeon species such as wood pigeons who migrate from northern and eastern Europe to southwards, mostly passing through the UK. Apart from that in the UK, several pigeons are found who are non-migratory in nature.

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Do pigeons migrate to Canada?

Generally, pigeons are not found migrating to Canada, because it has continental temperatures where summers are too hot and winters are extreme. The Pigeon species habited in Canada during winters mostly migrate southwards such as mourning doves. 


Both migratory and non-migratory pigeon species are found worldwide. Some of them migrate in search of food, shelter and favourable environmental conditions to live whereas others tend to not change their habitat at any cost. Hope our article on do pigeons migrate in winter or not is going to be helpful to you.

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