What Do Pigeons Eat ? | Healthy And Unhealthy Foods for Pigeons

what do pigeons eat

If you have pigeons or think to have them as pets, you surely have proper knowledge about their food. As well as you have to know which food give them proper nutrients. Moreover, you should have proper knowledge about all the foods that are essential for them and which foods are poisonous for them. That’s why I am here to provide you a proper guidance about pigeon’s food as well as their favorite foods. So this article is all about what do pigeons eat?

After getting proper knowledge about pigeon’s food, you can feed your pet pigeons wisely and help other pigeons in your area get food full of nutrients.

Pigeons are wild birds, and they like wild foods. As they can eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. However, in the wild, pigeons can also eat insects, which give them proteins and fats as well.

Moreover, pigeons are herbivorous but some time considered omnivorous due to their insects, worms eating ability.

However, pigeons living in urban areas can eat human leftover food. However, they can eat food from the trash when desperate for food.

Baby pigeons used to drink milk secreted from their parents called crop milk. Then, after a week, parent pigeons start introducing other foods to their young ones after finally chopping them.

What Do Pigeons Eat?

Now let’s have a detailed look at what do pigeons eat?

Pigeons In the Wild:

pigeon favorite food
pigeon favorite food

Pigeons in the wild seem to be luckier in getting nutritional food. As in the wild, they can eat fruits, nuts, and seeds. In addition, however, with all of this, they can eat vegetables and plants.

Read also: Why Do Pigeons Attack Humans ?

Moreover, wild pigeons can also eat insects and worms. And this food gives them more proteins and fats as well.

Pigeons In Urban Areas:

However, it’s sad that pigeons of urban areas are not that lucky as pigeons in the wild. The reason is that they are unable to get fruits and other foods like pigeons in the wild.

Moreover, pigeons of urban areas have to make more effort for food. That’s why they adapt themselves to eat human foods like pasta, a tiny amount of meat, fish, bread, popcorns, etc. But these foods are not that nutritional for them.

But if we have pet pigeons, then you must have to provide them food full of nutrients. However, you also don’t have to feed them just seeds, as only seeds offer few nutrients, so mix grains in them for a healthy meal. Rather than that, you can give them cereals, wheat, and fruits as well.

Pigeons in the wild can also eat insects, worms, and snails, etc. So you also can add them to your pigeon’s food in a small amount. As it gives them proteins and fats to pigeons which are necessary for their health.

Baby Pigeons:

To feed baby pigeons will not be a tough thing if their parents are healthy and getting enough nutritional food. As baby pigeons drink just crop milk which is secreted from their parents.

And this milk allows them to develop a healthy digestive system. So during their first week, they don’t need any other food.

But after a week, parent pigeons start introducing them to other foods but in a chopped form. And after a month, baby pigeons start eating like adults.

Pigeons Favorite Food:

However, commonly pigeons don’t have any favorite food. As in hunger, they can eat even insects also. But their food should contain seeds, grains, vegetables, fruits, etc.

Toxic Foods for Pigeons:

We should feed them foods with proper nutrients for the healthy life of pigeons as we shouldn’t feed them just seeds but also grains, finely chopped vegetables, and a small number of insects.

So that they can get proper nutrients. But along this, we shouldn’t feed them some foods as they are highly toxic for them. Following is a detailed review of such foods which are unhealthy for pigeons.


As avocado leaves produce persin, a substance that avocado leaves used to kill fungus in the plant. But at the same time, this substance is highly toxic for birds. However, studies have not yet shown that how much of consumed quantity is toxic for birds.

However, it leads to heart attack respiratory difficulty and also causes their death. So it would be best if you had to avoid strictly giving avocado and avocado-containing foods to pigeons.


As caffeine is present in all types of soda beverages, coffee, and tea, and all these drinks we like the most in our daily lives. But, caffeine is highly toxic for pigeons as well as for other birds.

It leads to cardiac arrest, increment in heartbeats, hyperactivity, etc. Therefore, we should have avoided giving them such foods having caffeine in them. Therefore, not only to just pigeons but we also avoid giving such foods to any birds.


However, chocolate is favorite to humans, and now a day we use it in numerous recipes. But chocolate is not healthy for your pigeons. Not only this, but it also falls on the list of toxic food for pigeons.

Not only for pigeons, but it is toxic to other birds as well as to animals. The reason behind this is that chocolates contain a substance known as theobromine. And this substance is highly toxic for pigeons.

Therefore, feeding chocolate to pigeons directly affects their digestive system, leads to vomiting, diarrhea, etc. It also causes trouble in the respiratory system, which leads to a heart attack.

However, sometimes chocolates are that dangerous to pigeons that they can lead their death.

Apple Seeds:

However, fruits should be part of the pigeon’s diet but not the seeds of apples as they contain cyanide. Not only apple seeds but also cherries, peaches, apricots, and pears also contain cyanide. As cyanide is a toxic element and causes direct death to pigeons.

Not only pigeons, but we should’ve avoid giving it to anyone. However, this doesn’t mean that you haven’t provided apples to pigeons. As you can freely add apple pieces into pigeon’s diet. And of course, they would like it.


As the excessive amount of salt is not suitable for us, salt is not safe for pigeons and other birds. Therefore, a small amount of salt can cause serious problems to pigeons.

As it leads to dehydration, excessive thirst, kidney failure, and even death. So you have to avoid it giving to pigeons, even a minor amount of salt shouldn’t be given to them.


Consumption of fats is not healthy for any living body in the world. So we have to avoid giving fatty foods to pigeons like butter, oil, an excessive amount of nuts. As more fats in the body directly lead to heart problems in pigeons and then their death.

Onions And Garlic:

The use of onions and garlic in our daily routine is healthy for humans but not for pigeons. Not only pigeons but they are not suitable for other birds as well as for animals also like dogs and cats.

As both these can cause ulcers in pigeons, they can also rupture red blood cells in pigeons, leading to anemia in them.

What Do Pigeons Drink And How Do Pigeons Drink?

Water is essential to every living creature of the world. But pigeons need more water to drink than other birds. As it is not only necessary for thirst or to keep them hydrating, but also it is necessary to flush food into their gullets.

Read also: How Do Pigeons See?

Pigeon’s way of drinking water is different from many other birds as they dip their beaks into the water and suck it down to their throat.

And pigeons do this by keeping their heads down; there are few birds with this ability. As other birds fill their beaks with water and then move their heads upward to push down the water.

Can Pigeons Eat Rice?

There is a myth that we should have to avoid giving rice to pigeons. As they can swallow into their stomach and causes their explosions. However, there is not any scientific proof for this.

As studies show that pigeons can surely eat rice either they are cooked or not. And it will be magnificent for them.

Wrap Up:

What do pigeons eat? The answer to this question depends on whether either pigeon lives in wild areas or urban areas. But being a pigeon’s owner, you should have to feed them food that will be nutritional.

As you can feed them, seeds, fruits, nuts, vegetables, greens, etc. But remember to offer them all these foods in moderation.

But at the same time, you have to avoid many foods to give them like chocolates, apple seeds, onions, garlic, foods containing caffeine, alcoholic foods and drinks, salted foods, avocados, and foods containing avocados.