10 important pigeon facts

We probably should have done this much earlier … In this blog article we list 10 pigeon facts that every pigeon expert should be able to dream! We too are sometimes surprised by how simple or logical a certain fact is, and yet we did not know it. There is just so much to learn about our winged friends.

We are curious if you already knew these facts. If not: take advantage of it! In addition, these tips are also interesting for new pigeon fanciers. Although the Dutch and Belgium pigeon fancier community is aging, more and more young enthusiasts are attending the events in Eastern Europe. Hopefully this trend will blow over to the West.

Therefore this overview is important for beginners and experts alike. You mainly learn what to pay attention to to recognize a top pigeon.

1. What does a “roek” mean?

A “Roek” is a one-colored pigeon, a pigeon without an additional drawing or pattern. Previously, the roeks were also mentioned in the standard, but that is somewhat outdated. It may be that a roek has some kind of bands. We still count that as one-color.

2. What is a pigeon’s body temperature?

The average body temperature of a pigeon is between 41-42 degrees Celsius. With a great effort, the temperature rises above 43 degrees. Arnfinn Aulie has done extensive research on body temperature in relation to the performance of a pigeon and found that a pigeon stops performing if the body temperature reaches 44.1 degrees Celsius.

3. What types of pigeon bodies are there?

There are three types of pigeon bodies. Type A is the least common and these are usually the sprinters and middle distance racers. You can recognize them by the protruding chestbone. Type B are the middle distance and one day long distance racers. They have a kind of pear shape. You can recognize them by the swelling / thick muscles around the chestbone, which makes the chestbone appear collapsed. Type C are more round pigeons and are suitable for all types of races. They are the only type that is also suitable for marathons. You can also recognize them by the chestbone. In their case, the muscles and the sternum lie evenly together. If you stroke it with the tip of your fingers, you will not feel a good transition from one side to the other.

4. What is important about the pigeon wings?

You can easily recognize a top pigeon by its wings. As far as we are concerned, the last four primaries are the most important. With some pigeons there is little space between these quills and they sometimes overlap. It is important that there is some space in between. The ventilation provides an aerodynamic advantage because the air flowing past (by wind or speed) is better distributed and is guided away by the wider tracks between the quills. In addition, the space also means more spread, so more surface area to flap the air.

5. So the more space between the springs the better?

No. The sprinters often have a slightly wider spread. But generally the wings are relatively narrow. The larger the wings, the more weight and the more energy the pigeon uses when flapping the wings. Pay special attention to the distance between the last four primaries. Distance pigeons often have a smaller spread than the sprinters.

6. So only the ends of the pigeon wings are important?

No. It is not only about the size of the wings but also about the balance and the position of the flight feathers. For example, take a good look at whether the 1st and 2nd primaries on each wing are the same length and are equally spaced. If there is a minimal difference, the pigeon is already out of balance and that has an impact on its performance. In addition, the 2nd quill must overlap the 1st. It is slightly bent towards the body and overlaps (think of roof tiles) the 1st quill.

7. Why is there a greasy stain between the 8th & 9th quill?

You should not accidentally brush away this grease stain when holding the pigeon. This is a very strategic place where the pigeon stores grease. From here, the grease is distributed to the other feathers while flying. That way the pigeon keeps its plumage strong and healthy. The feathers can neglect or deform due to moisture and dirt. The grease provides a hydrophobic effect. It repels moisture and, if there is dirt on the feathers, it washed of with the moisture.

8. What shape should the pigeon’s wings have?

The wings must have a parabolic shape. At the bottom, the wings should be as even as possible, so not concave or convex. At the top, the wings should be convex with the bulge at the front. In this way, the air is distributed in an advantageous manner. The surface at the bottom of the wing is smaller than at the top. This means that the wind travels a shorter distance at the bottom than at the top of the wing. So the air flows faster along the bottom, resulting in an upward movement. This helps the pigeon to stay in the air and (s)he has to make little effort to fly.


9. Should the pigeon wings be as straight as possible?

No. The last four feathers of the wing should have an upward bend. Due to this bend, the pigeon flaps the air backwards instead of downwards. This curvature allows the pigeon to make speed. Note that that does not mean that the larger the curvature or the longer the feathers, the better. On the contrary. Too much curvature can detract from the function and too long feathers in relation to the body means too much weight. So everything has to be well balanced.

10. What do well-developed muscles mean?

Two muscle-types are possible. If the muscles are short and thick, it means that the pigeon has a lot of explosive power. These are usually good sprinters. Pigeons with long muscles often have more stamina and are better marathon pigeons. So when selecting a pigeon, pay attention not only to the size and thickness of a muscle, but also to its length. Some say you should also pay attention to the length of the chestbone, but that does not affect the type of pigeon. A pigeon can have a short sternum and long muscles and a long sternum with short muscles. Ultimately it is about the muscles.

So here you have a lot of pigeon facts in a row that will undoubtedly help you to better understand the pigeon body. Good luck!

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