What do pigeons eat in the wild?

Pigeons in the city eat almost anything but is this good for them? Is human food close enough to what they eat in the wild? What do pigeons eat in the wild?

Pigeons in the wild eat seeds, grains, berries, fruits, and vegetables. these animals are herbivores but if they need to they will eat insects, snails, worms, and small lizards. These foods offer pigeons more concentrated amounts of protein and fat. In the city, pigeons eat bread, french fries and pet food to name a few

It’s true that pigeons are very present in cities around the world today, but these birds do not only live in human settlements. In fact, there was a time when not a single pigeon dwelt in our cities or rural areas.

Pigeons originally came from the wild. This includes coastal areas, cliffs, rock edges, chaparral, rain forests, mangrove forests and arboreal forests

It would seem as though all the pigeons in the world left their natural habitat and moved to the city, but that’s not the case – there are still pigeons in the wild. The question now asked by many is: if pigeons live in the wild, what do they eat there?

What do pigeons eat in the wild?

Pigeons in the wild live off of what nature provides. These birds live in areas where food-producing trees and plants are abundant, and so these birds eat seeds, grains, berries, fruits, and vegetables.

A wild pigeon will also eat insects, snails, worms, and small lizards occasionally. Pigeons are herbivores and shouldn’t be meat-eaters, but since these birds live in the wild, they will eat almost anything they can find if they are hungry enough – especially if it appears edible and defenceless.

Pigeons eating meat can also be a good thing. Pigeons need lots of protein and fat in their diet to stay healthy and strong, they get more concentrated amounts of fat and protein in meat

Unfortunately, living in the wild comes with its disadvantages. These birds live in an environment filled with lots of predators. In addition, a scarcity of food in the wild may lead to starvation for the birds.

What do pigeons eat in urban areas?

Pigeons living around human habitations aren’t as privileged as pigeons in the wild, so they settle for whatever they can find. These birds have been around humans for many decades so they have learned to eat human food.

City pigeons eat grains, corn, wheat, pearl millet, seeds, bread, cookies, french fries, dried peas, cheese, rice, pasta, fried chicken, meat, fish, fruits, dog and cat food to name a few

Sometimes, people feed these birds by offering them something to eat. But this doesn’t happen all the time. In every city, there are people who terribly dislike birds and would never offer them food.

When city pigeons can’t find anything to eat, they resort to scavenging. If you live in a big city, you must have seen pigeons eating from the trash. This is bad for the birds as they can get sick from eating contaminated materials.

What do baby pigeons eat?

In the animal kingdom, mothers are usually the only parent responsible for nursing the young, but this is not so for pigeons.

When a baby pigeon is born, it’s the duty of both parents to feed and care for the young bird. And father pigeons never run from this responsibility.

Baby pigeons are fed crop milk by both parents until they are matured enough to eat solid food.

The crop milk fed to baby pigeons is extremely high in protein, fat, carbohydrate, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Should you feed pigeons in the wild?

There’s a yes and no to that.

Pigeons in the wild may need our help sometimes. And if we fail to offer them food during periods of food scarcity, they may end up starving to death or ingesting something that harms them.

Feeding pigeons is not something you’re obligated to do, but if you love wildlife, you can offer them healthy food whenever you get the chance.

It’s also important not to overdo this as they could become overly dependent on humans for food. Pigeons living in the wild need to know how to hunt for food themselves, not wait for humans to bring them food.

What should I feed my pet pigeon?

If you own a pet pigeon, you can feed it the following foods:

  • Grains
  • Seeds
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Cooked eggs
  • Cheese
  • Lactose-free yogurt
  • Cooked or uncooked rice and pasta (unsalted)

A pigeon’s diet must be diverse. Don’t solely feed your pet pigeon a certain type of food because it loves it. The bird should be fed a balanced diet if it is to stay healthy.

Pigeon feed is the most recommended food to give the birds as they contain balanced amounts of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

What not to feed pigeons

Pigeons eat a lot of things but should not be fed everything. Some foods will harm and can kill the birds. Below are foods you should never feed pigeons:

Sugary foods and sugary drinks: Sugary food can cause diabetes in the birds.

Avocado: Avocados contain persin which is toxic to the birds.

Apple: The seeds of apples are bad for the birds as they contain cyanide. The skin could also be coated with pesticides that may harm the birds.

Onion or garlic: Onions and garlic both contain chemicals that can irritate the bird’s mouth, oesophagus, crop and also cause them anaemia.

Chocolates: The theobromine in chocolate is highly toxic to the birds.

Salted foods: Pigeons should not ingest salted foods as the sodium can kill the birds.


Pigeons do not only live in cities; they can also be found in the wild. In the wild, the diet of these birds mainly consists of seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables, insects, and any small animal they can find.

It’s not a bad idea to feed wild pigeons wherever you find them, just don’t do it in excess. And if you’re to feed pigeons, make sure you aren’t giving them food that is harmful to them.

If you’re interested in pigeons you may also be interested in these articles: When do pigeons leave the nest? Where do pigeons go to die? What do pigeons like to eat? Where do pigeons go in the winter? Click the links to read more

What do pigeons eat in the wild?
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