About animals

Altai Birds


All about pigeons. Treatment, feeding, breeding, maintenance

The fates of man and domestic pigeon intertwined in time in an amazing way. For a long time, the dust of centuries has hidden those civilizations that were the first to engage in breeding pigeons. Golubovodstvo remained as an indispensable part of any developed society, for 5000 years it has transformed into a special form of human activity. An explanation of this unique phenomenon can be found only if you look at pigeon breeding as an art based on the search for harmony between man and bird. This point of view on pigeon breeding in the middle of the XIX century. proposed to the world, a student of Charles Darwin, his associate and like-minded Thomas Huxley. According to him, "pigeon breeding is a great art, a great secret, a matter that a person should not speak frivolously."

The experience gained in poultry farming has allowed people to learn the unique genetic plasticity of a pigeon. It is this quality of an amazing bird that has become the basis of pigeon art, in which a dove is a means of expressing the author’s ideas. After all, this bird is one of the most beautiful and eye-catching objects of wildlife. Pigeon art combines the theory and practice of developing in birds the characteristics of a breed that a person needs at the genetic level. The theory allows the pigeon breeder to acquire the necessary knowledge of the fundamentals of various scientific disciplines, namely: biology, veterinary medicine and ornithology, botany and geography, genetics and physiology, ecology and aesthetics. The art of pigeon breeding has an aesthetic effect on a person by a variety of means, including the shape of the bird’s body, the color and shape of the pigeon’s feathers, the grace of movement when walking, the style, altitude and duration of the flight. True pleasure can be given to the pigeon-lover by the mosaic of a flying flock, the virtuosity of a bird's flight, the ringing of pigeon wings in the air, the melody of cooing.

Pigeon breeding is a unique type of poultry art that can be demonstrated in two environments: on the ground and in the air. Countless exhibitions, olympiads and competitions are held on earth. In the air, the race is checked for altitude and duration of flight, competitions are held for the speed of return of birds to their dovecote from the point of release.

Pigeon art has such a powerful overall aesthetic effect on a person, provides such a brightness of impressions and the subtlety of their shades, that it is very difficult to find anything equal to it in effect.

Practical work on breeding pigeons is a difficult daily work on keeping, observing and caring for birds, selecting pairs and nursing young animals, and training. This activity requires a pigeon lover great desire and patience. Birds should receive favorable conditions in captivity. An amateur's work can only be highly appreciated when birds breed at home. To date, the efforts of pigeon breeders have already bred more than 800 breeds and pedigree groups of pigeons of racing, decorative and sports-postal directions. With such a huge number of breeds, subtle differences between them can be determined by no means all specialists.

From time immemorial, a domestic pigeon attracted people's attention with its ability to find a dovecote - a habitual place of its habitat. If the pigeon was taken in a closed cage to places he had never seen, the bird would still find its way home, even if it had to fly for a very long time. These outstanding abilities of pigeons made them postmen. Mankind has been actively using pigeon mail for quite some time - until the middle of the 20th century. Although today the need for such services of pigeons seems to have disappeared, but human interest in pigeons has not disappeared. It even began to manifest itself with even greater force, both among pigeon lovers, and in scientific circles. In many European countries and the United States, a special sport has spread widely - pigeon competitions for flight range and time to return home. Sometimes up to 1000 pigeons take part in such competitions. Birds are brought to a predetermined point, which is 160-1000 km from the pigeon house. Then the pigeons are simultaneously released into the flight, and their owners with special devices record the moment their pets return home. According to these data, the flight speed of each bird is calculated and the winner is identified. Typically, a pigeon’s flight speed is approximately 80 km / h, with individual individuals flying up to 1000 km per day. In addition to such competitions, various exhibitions of pigeons are held every year, at which their owners demonstrate the rare virtues of their pets.

The founder of ornithology is considered to be the ancient Greek thinker Aristotle (384–322 BC). He dedicated the ninth book of his treatise, Animal History, to birds.

Interest in pigeons is largely due to their original appearance. Ordinary, somewhat inconspicuous wild pigeons on the streets of many cities - this is the most typical, but far from the only pigeon breed. Pigeons can have plumage of various colors: white, fawn, orange, blue, green or red - with a wide variety of patterns on the feathers. Birds can be decorated with black wings or a yellow tail. In some breeds, the tail is very long, almost like that of a peacock. The plumage is magnificent or smooth, adjacent to the body. Birds move on shaggy or completely bare legs.

Pigeons also vary in the nature of the flight. They can often flap their wings, fluttering like butterflies, fly in circles, dramatically change flight altitude and somersault in the air. There are even pigeons capable of holding a load in their paws during a flight!

Domestic pigeons as experimental birds take part in various laboratory studies. First of all, pigeons attract scientists with their abilities in the field of orientation in space and navigation. The mechanism of pigeon navigation was studied in 1949 by a group of Gustav Kramer from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Biology, which is located in the German city of Wilhelmshaven. Studies have shown that pigeons have an accurate sense of time, a kind of internal clock. Somehow, this watch is related to the position of the sun in the sky. Kramer’s simple but elegant experiments showed that pigeons can make corrections for time using a daylight as a compass. Other experiments have revealed that pigeons are capable of perceiving the smallest fluctuations in atmospheric pressure, as well as sensing changes in the plane of polarization of light. During a series of experiments at the University of Gottingen (Germany), pigeons were placed on their eyes with frosted gelatin contact lenses - with them birds can see objects only a few meters away. Pigeons were released at a considerable distance from their dovecote, nevertheless, the birds were perfectly oriented in determining the direction to the house. Many of them returned home long before the gelatin of the lenses dissolved.

By the 1960s the use of the solar compass by pigeons in their spatial orientation was considered a well-established fact. Scientists were sure that it was the sun that pigeons needed when returning home from an unfamiliar place. However, researchers from Cornell University in the United States observed pigeons that returned home at night. It was also noted that pigeons find the right path in cloudy weather. In particular, they successfully completed this task, if earlier they had the opportunity to fly in the vicinity of the dovecote in cloudy weather or even in the rain. Long studies have shown that nature endowed pigeons with a navigation system, even with some redundancy. In good weather, birds navigate by the solar compass. When the luminary is not visible, they rely on other internal sources of information that do not require time management. In the course of research, birds were transported to an unfamiliar area in cages on rotating stands or in rotating drums. Sometimes pigeons were delivered to the launch site under deep anesthesia. However, such unusual transportation conditions did not have any effect on the birds - all the pigeons successfully found their way home. As it turned out, the pigeons know how to "read" the direction, focusing on the Earth's magnetic field. Researchers from the University of New York (USA) came to this, in all likelihood, terrestrial magnetism serves pigeons as a second compass. To date, elucidation of the mechanisms of pigeon orientation remains a very difficult task that does not give any definite answer. When returning home from a distant place, the pigeon selects a direction that only roughly corresponds to the road home. But the bird never chooses a direct direction to the house, it makes amendments to its course during the flight. Many studies have prompted scientists to believe that the pigeon navigation system has more than one component, but in fact there is a diverse combination of such components based on factors such as weather, age and individual bird life experience. Young untrained pigeons need information about both the sun and magnetic fields. But with the acquisition of the necessary experience, birds learn to precisely navigate in space and time with a minimum amount of information, relying on geophysical factors that are still incomprehensible to people. In all likelihood, pigeons will be able to present many more surprises to researchers of their phenomenal talent.

Turtle Dove

The turtledove belongs to the Pigeon family and looks very similar to the widespread and well-known pigeon. Unlike the pigeon, the turtledove is more elegant, it has a strongly rounded or wedge-shaped tail. On feathers - characteristic white stripes, red paws. The plumage of the upper half of the body is brown, motley.

In Russia there are five species of turtledoves: common turtledo, large turtledo, ringed turtledo, short-tailed turtledo, small turtledo, Containing turtledo in captivity in open-air cages, where they should have enough space for flight. With good care, the turtledove can live in captivity for 15-18 years.

There are 18 types of loaches. Their habitat is very wide: turtledoves are common in Europe, Asia, North Africa and Australia.

two-ringed neck (Streptopelia bitorquata)
South African turtledove (Streptopelia capicola)
spotted, or Chinese, turtledove (Streptopelia chinensis (Stigmatopelia senegalensis)
ringed turtledove (Streptopelia decaocto)
African turtledove (Streptopelia decipiens)
dark dove (Streptopelia lugens)
pink dove (Nesoenas mayeri)
large turtledove (Streptopelia orientalis)
Madagascar turtledove (Streptopelia picturata)
silver-winged dove (Streptopelia reichenowi)
laughing turtledove (Streptopelia risoria)
wild laughing, or pink-gray, turtledove (Streptopelia roseogrisea)
red-eyed turtledove (Streptopelia semitorquata)
small turtledove (Streptopelia senegalensis)
Short-tailed dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica)
Common dove (Streptopelia turtur)
wine turtledove (Streptopelia vinacea)

Common turtledove (Streptopelia turtur) is similar to a pigeon, but more elegant and smaller in size. Its weight is about 120 grams. The plumage is colorful, with a predominance of brown-red colors. The common turtledove flies well and runs on the ground. The habitat of the common goose of Europe. North Africa, Asia Minor, Western and Central Asia, Siberia and Kazakhstan. For habitat, the common turtledove chooses wooded places - deciduous or coniferous. It also lives in a low-growing shrub, not far from water resources. In the southern areas of habitat, common doves can be found in parks and gardens of cities and villages. Common dove - migratory bird. For the winter, she goes to equatorial Africa.

Egyptian (small) turtledove (Streptopelia sebegalensis) is sometimes called a "laughing dove" (Streptopelia risorius), as her voice resembles a laugh. This type of turtledoves is widespread among bird lovers and is most often kept in captivity (domesticated for 2000-3000 years.) The Egyptian turtledove is trusting to humans, leads a sedentary lifestyle. It settles in human habitats, in gardens and parks. The color of the plumage is light yellow with a black half ring on the upper side of the neck. Distribution area of ​​the Egyptian turtledove - Southwest Asia and Africa.

Big turtledove (Streptopelia orientalis) lives in coniferous or deciduous forests in Asia and Southwest Siberia. For the winter flies to warm places.

Ringed turtledove distributed in the European part of Russia. Also found is the southern part of Asia, the south-west of Europe, partly Africa. The bird leads a sedentary lifestyle, unlike all other species of doves. It settles in places of residence of people, settles in parks and gardens. Viet nests on trees and sometimes even on eaves or in clefts of brickwork of houses. The plumage has a grayish-brown do not speet and pinkish on the chest and neck. A half-ring of white color crowns the neck - this is a sign of an adult neck, young individuals do not have such a ring.

Chinese Spotted Streptopelia originally lived in Asia. Later it was transported to the Australian mainland and to America, where the birds successfully acclimatized and began to breed. Rainforests inhabit Chinese mottled turtledoves, often villages and cities. Its plumage is light brown, its head is pinkish. A distinctive feature is the spot on the back of the neck - this is a patch of black in white speck.

African turtledove inhabits the West and South African continent. Lives in pairs or small flocks in forests, sometimes in arid areas or near human housing. The plumage is light brown, the head is gray. There are red spots around the eyes. A black and white edging collar adorns the neck. The tail is wide, wedge-shaped, white.

The diet for doves is the same as for pigeons. The doves eat almost any grain: wheat, oat, millet, small corn, hemp. They also eat greens (it can be given in unlimited quantities every day), some vegetables (carrots), white bread (previously soaked).

The diet for one bird is two tablespoons of feed per day. Feeding is done twice a day - in the morning and in the evening. The diet should be diverse, otherwise the bird may have vitamin deficiency or metabolism worsen. A sharp change in food is also not recommended - it is better to replace food gradually.

Streptopelia need to include mineral supplements in the diet: crushed shell, shell rock, coarse sand. In the summer, you can offer the grass birds: dandelion, plantain.

To keep Egyptian doves in captivity began a very long time ago. Arabs began taming dovesnails already about three thousand years ago. In the 16th century, Egyptian turtledoves became popular in Europe and America. Egyptian turtledove lends itself well to selection. If initially this species had a semi-neck of black color, now necklings with white, red and yellow collars and mottled necklings have been bred.

He gained popularity among his lovers among bird lovers and his singing. There are birds that coo very melodiously, it's nice to listen to them. When kept in captivity, the turtledove quickly adapts to new conditions, is trusting to the owner and is not demanding in care and nutrition.

For captivity, a large cage (size 80x60x60 cm) or an aviary is required. Streptopelia can be released to freedom to fly - they, like pigeons, get used to the owner and always return home. The cage for keeping doves must be equipped below the sides with a height of more than 10 cm, otherwise debris and feathers from the cage will spill over the edge.

In order for the turtledoves to begin to multiply, a nest box (not deep, with a side height of about 6 cm) is placed in their home.Birds must be provided with building material for arranging the nest: straw, grass, nets, twigs. Having such a nest in its location, a pair of doves will certainly lay eggs in it. There are usually two eggs in the clutches of the doves.

Both parents incubate the clutch alternately for a little more than two weeks. Streptopelia are born blind, helpless, with a rare plumage, but they grow very quickly. At the age of 20 days, the chicks can leave the nest, although they still do not really know how to fly. Parents feed offspring for some more time after the chicks leave the nest. At the age of one month, they have the ability to eat on their own.

Dovelings breed quickly and can do up to 5-6 clutches per year. At the same time, they often begin to lay new eggs immediately after the previous brood leaves the nest. However, frequent breeding does not always affect birds well. You should take a break in breeding for 3 months, planting pairs in different cells. During this time, the body of the throat is fully restored. To stop breeding, you can also resort to a decrease in daylight hours. A daylight duration of 8 hours inhibits the sexual activity of birds and promotes molting.

Young doves, born with a rare plumage, already by the age of 10 weeks begin to take the form of adult birds. They molt, and their dull plumage changes to an adult outfit.

Open-air cages with turtledoves can be placed outdoors, but for the winter it is imperative to move the birds to a warm place, as they are sensitive to temperature extremes. Streptopelia get along well with other birds, are peace-loving and are not prone to destruction or aggression.

Great Streptopelia orientalis

The Great Streptopelia (lat. Streptopelia orientalis) is a bird of the pigeon family (lat. Columbidae). It is very similar to a common turtledove, from which it differs only by a slightly larger size and a brown general color of plumage. Body length up to 35 cm, weight - up to 300 g. Head grayish, wings black and red, body top brown.
The chest is brownish-red, the abdomen is light, buffy, the tail is black with a white stripe at the end. On the sides of the neck, bluish-gray spots with black stripes are clearly visible.
The mating coo of the male is a dull "hu-boo, hoo-boo", very similar to the voice of other doves.

Listen to the voice of the Big Dove

It lives in Asia. The species is migratory, but in the southern part of the range of doves they live settled. Winters in Africa.
It settles in forests of various types, mostly light and near fields or meadows. It also settles in cities where it inhabits gardens and parks.

video: Big turtledove

Nest arranges on a tree, not high above the ground. The construction is an almost flat sloppy platform, on which the female lays two white eggs.
Hatching lasts about two weeks, chicks spend in the nest for about a month. After the departure of young adult birds begin the second clutch.
The large turtledoque feeds on both plant and animal food: seeds of trees and herbs, berries, various insects, worms and slugs. He finds food on earth. Duckbill chicks are fed the same as they eat themselves, but already in the form of a semi-digested slurry, which adults burp from goiter.

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Description and features of the species

The color of the plumage in adult representatives of this species of birds is cream-colored with a gray tint, the feather cover of the wings is reddish with small black specks, the tail is dark with a characteristic transverse stripe of light color. Black and white spots are present on the neck. The legs of the bird are pink. Male doves, as a rule, are slightly larger than their girlfriends. The plumage of young birds is similar to the outfit of adults, however, it is not so bright, the legs are brown in color, the iris is brownish, there are no spots on the neck.

Power Features

The basic diet of the big neck of the neck is a variety of seeds, insects. In the warm season, the main places for food production are meadows, the coastal zone of small freshwater rivers. In the autumn period, large turtledoves obtain their food in the fields, collecting grains from the surface of the earth (wheat, rice, buckwheat, millet, hemp).


The most widespread bird in Africa, Europe, Central Asia. The main habitat is the steppe, forest-steppe. This type of bird belongs to migratory birds, the place of winter turtledove is South Sahara, Africa. From the hibernation, they arrive at the nesting place after the trees are already covered with deciduous cover.

The differences between male and female, especially breeding

Note that for this type of bird, such as large turtledoves, sexual dimorphism is not a characteristic feature. The only difference between the female and the male is the larger sizes of the male, there are no differences in the color of plumage.

The nesting period for representatives of this species of birds is quite long; this is often manifested by the fact that some pairs of birds are already hatching their offspring, while others are just starting to build and equip their nest.

The male in the mating season attracts the female of the Streptopelia with characteristic click and gentle, monotonous coo. During the reproduction of such sounds, the bird’s neck swells, its head drops down.

As a rule, for nesting birds choose forest edges, gardens, park areas, forest plantations. As a material for the construction of the nest, plant roots and brushwood are used. Directly the bird’s nest itself is built on tree branches.

The number of eggs in one treasure is 2 pcs. They are gently cream or white, have the correct shape. The duration of the incubation is about 2 weeks.

After hatching the offspring, parents take care and protect their chicks until they reach the last independence. Young doves of the doveroot become wing after 3 weeks after hatching. As a rule, after this they leave the parent nesting area and form into small flocks (up to 10 birds). In regions with a mild and warm climate, during the nesting season of Streptopelia can make several egg laying (no more than 2).