What’s the Difference between Pigeons and Doves?

People generally think of doves and pigeons as two different birds. However, these pests are closely related and share many physical traits and habits. In fact, the common name of the pigeon species familiar to most people is the rock dove.


There are few differences between doves and pigeons in terms of appearance. Both are large birds with stout bodies, small heads, and short legs.

Fortunately, determining whether there is a dove or a pigeon infestation is not the most important question for control. To set up deterrents around their food source, it is more useful to know if the bird is a seed- or fruit-eating species. Pests that dine on fruit tend to be more colorful, whereas seed-eaters are typically gray, brown, or pink.

Pigeon vs. Dove Damage

Both pigeons and doves like to nest in enclosed spaces. They often choose sheds and attics as places to raise their young. The pests are notorious for hosting mites and ticks as well as spreading Salmonella bacteria.

Additionally, dove and pigeon droppings collect quickly. Their unsightly waste tarnishes sidewalks and buildings. Furthermore, humans can develop the disease histoplasmosis from a fungus that grows in bird feces. Infection occurs when people inhale the airborne spores.


Residents should not approach pigeon or dove nests due to the risk of disease. The best way to deal with an infestation is to contact professionals. Critter Control technicians have the training to deter these pests from homes and yards.

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