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What is the difference between a pigeon and a squab? |


Physical Differences

Pigeon and squab are two types of birds that look relatively similar to the untrained eye. While they may seem to be the same type of bird, there are actually some physical distinctions that make them distinct from each other. Pigeons are longer with broader wings, whereas squab have a more rounded, thicker body with smaller wings. This article will explain the physical differences between the two birds in greater detail.


Pigeons and Squabs have physical differences, including size. The most obvious difference between the two is that pigeons are considerably larger than squabs when fully grown.

Pigeons usually grow to about 9 to 11 in (23 to 28 cm) in length, with a wingspan of 14 to 17 in (36 to 43 cm). They weigh around 10 to 12 oz (284 to 340 g). Pigeons have a slender body with tapered wings and can be found in many colors ranging from dark blues or purples through lighter blues, grays, browns or white.

Squabs, on the other hand, only reach around 6 -7 in (15 – 18 cm) long and weigh about 5 oz (140 g). Unlike pigeons, they only come in one color which is dark gray or sooty black. Their heads are much more rounded than pigeons and they have broader wings that they hold out rather than tucking against the body like pigeons do.


Pigeons and squabs can have similar colors, but there are some key differences to take note of. Pigeons are typically ash or blue colored, with white chest and head patches. Squabs usually have a black-and-gray pattern with a white chest area and red eyes. The colors will vary depending upon the species of the bird but in general the pigeon has a more muted color palette than the squab.

The size of the bird can also be used to distinguish between a pigeon and a squab. Pigeons are approximately 10 inches in length, whereas squabs are slightly bigger and up to 14-15 inches long or even longer in some cases. Pigeons usually have pointed wings and tail, as opposed to squabs that have rounder wings and tail feathers which look thicker when compared to pigeons. In addition, pigeons tend to fold their wings further back than squabs when standing at rest.


Pigeons and Squabs have different feather colors, proportions, and shapes. The feathers of a pigeon are narrower and more closely set than those of a squab. Pigeons also have distinct striping across some of their wings, which is absent in Squab feathers. When viewed close-up, the feather barbules (a structure situated between the barbs on each strand) are generally more widely spaced in Squabs than those of Pigeons.

The colors of the two birds’ feathers also differ considerably. In general, Pigeons tend to be grey or brown with russet highlights while Squabs display a wide range of colors ranging from white to almost black.

In terms of proportion, Pigeon feathers tend to be rounder with smoother edges while Squab feathers are usually oval in shape with pointed ends and slightly jagged edges which gives them an overall jagged appearance when observed from a distance.

Behavioral Differences

Pigeons and squabs have quite a few differences in their behavior. Pigeons are highly social and vocal, often living in flocks and cooing on rooftops. On the other hand, squabs are solitary, quiet birds and tend to be very shy and secretive. Pigeons are also known to be messier than squabs, while squabs are more organized and often more economical with their energy resources. Let’s look at some more differences between these two birds.


The diet of a pigeon and a squab vary in several ways. Pigeons are primarily seed and grain eaters, while squab consume more soft food and can even thrive on exclusively mashed-up plant-based feeds. In the wild, pigeons will also eat small fruits or berries, as well as other insects or worms, while squab mainly eat grains such as corn or wheat.

Additionally, due to their significantly smaller size in comparison to pigeons, squab need to be fed much more frequently throughout the day in order to get the nutrients and energy they need. As such, it is essential to keep feeders full at all times when raising a baby squab. Conversely, since pigeons store food within their crops which they can regurgitate later on when necessary, they typically feed less often than squabs.

Flight Patterns

Pigeons and squabs show different flight patterns. Pigeons generally flap their wings rapidly to propel themselves up and forward, whereas squabs are able to use thermals to help them soar easier and higher than pigeons. Pigeons tend to fly in flocks, while squabs are seen alone or in small pairs. Pigeon flight is much shorter than that of the squab, which can stay aloft for a considerable amount of time when using thermals. Oftentimes, the main visible difference between a pigeon and a squab is the way they are flapping their wings. A pigeon will have a more choppy flight pattern due to its rapid flapping of wings in relation with its body size, while a squab has more gliding-type of motion as it takes advantage of natural air currents for assistance when flying for great distances at high elevations.

Nesting Habits

One clear behavioral difference between pigeons and squabs is in their nesting habits. Pigeons are ground nesters and they typically construct a loosely woven platform using twigs, sticks, grasses and leaves. Squabs are cliff nesters and they look for crevices in rocks or small hollows in trees to construct their nests. Squab nests tend to be more carefully constructed than pigeon nests; the nesting material can include feathers, wool and cloth. Whereas pigeons will use the same location multiple times for laying eggs, squabs will typically build fresh nests for each batch of eggs.

Geographic Range

Pigeons and squabs are both members of the Columbidae family of birds and have a few similarities, but they also have some notable differences. One of the most significant ways they differ is in their geographic range. Pigeons are widespread across the world and can be found in virtually any climate. Squabs, on the other hand, are much more limited in their range, mostly being found in temperate and cold climates. In this article, we will look at the geographic range of pigeons and squabs in detail.

Where Pigeons are Found

Pigeons are a widely distributed group of birds that spend much of their time in urban and rural areas around the world. They are found almost everywhere in the world except for some remote islands, Antarctica, and other places where they do not have suitable nesting or food sources. In general, pigeons occupy habitats with dense vegetation and open spaces like parks, fields, mountainsides, cliffs and shorelines. Large cities have extensive populations as well as some suburban and rural areas.

Pigeon flocks may include other species such as sparrows or doves. However, only true pigeons belong to the family Columbidae. They vary in size from small to medium-sized birds with stout bodies and rounded heads. The coloration varies between species but generally consists of mottled feathers that may be white, gray, black or brown with wavy barring on the wings or underparts. Pigeons always have black feet but their beaks range from yellow to red-orange depending on species.

Where Squabs are Found

Squab is a domesticated version of the Rock Pigeon, a bird species native to Europe, North Africa and southwestern Asia. Wild Rock Pigeons are found all over the world, nesting on rocks and cliffs in temperate climates, or infrequently in parts of tropical Africa and Australia.

Domesticated squabs have been bred to primarily be raised for food. Varieties such as King Squab and White King have been specially bred to maximize size for meat production. Squabs are mainly found in urban areas among major cities due to their preference for building lofts, or man-made structures with flat tops which they build nests on since they lack feathering beneath the tail section which normally enables most birds to perch in trees or side of cliffside nests.

Uses of Pigeons and Squabs

Pigeons and squabs are two types of birds that are related to one another. Pigeons are commonly seen in urban areas and they are popularly kept as pets while squabs are a type of young, domestic pigeon often used as a food source. In this article, we will discuss the differences between pigeons and squabs and their respective uses.


Pigeons are primarily used for a variety of sports, including racing and show exhibition. The sport of pigeon racing has been enjoyed since the 19th century, and is still a popular hobby today. In this type of competition, pigeons are released from a starting point and their speed is timed to see which one can make it home to the roost the fastest. Pigeons have also been used historically in war as reliable data carriers due to their homing instinct and ability to fly long distances without tiring.

Pigeons have also been bred for show purposes, with both wild colors and fancy feathered varieties bred for this purpose. Show pigeons may have extravagant plumage or be specially trained to do particular behaviors or tricks in an entertaining way.

Squabs are pigeons that are young enough (generally less than five months old) to be edible when cooked and eaten. Therefore, they provide an easily accessible source of protein with very little work needed by the hunter or chef in order to prepare them for consumption. In addition, some cultures have made squab production a common agricultural practice utilized as a form of food security where other proteins may not be so readily available or accessible


Squab is the meat of a young, domestically raised pigeon that has been bred specifically for its meat. Domestic pigeons, which are also referred to as “squab” or “rock pigeons,” are typically larger than their wild counterparts and are generally considered more flavorful. Squab is a versatile ingredient and it can be prepared in many different ways.

Squab can be roasted, grilled or braised whole or cut into smaller pieces and skewered like poultry kabobs. It should be cooked quickly over high heat to keep the meat juicy. Squab is often used as an alternative to chicken in dishes such as coq au vin, stir-fries or curries. The small size of squabs also makes them perfect for stuffing with sautéed vegetables, herbs and spices before roasting. To maximize flavor, some recipes suggest marinating the squabs in wine or citrus juice prior to cooking.

Due to rising demand for sustainable protein sources, domestic squabs have seen a rise in popularity in recent years among chefs and home cooks alike. Many farms are beginning to raise their own birds specifically for their meat production making outdoor-bred birds widely available thanks to sustainable agriculture practices.

Conservation Status

Although both the pigeon and squab are birds of the same species, Columba livia, there are distinct differences between them. One main difference is their conservation status. The pigeon is a species of least concern, while the squab is endangered in some areas. Knowing the conservation status of the two birds can help us ensure the ongoing protection of the squab, even if the more abundant pigeon population doesn’t need it. Let’s delve further into the conservation status of these two birds.


Pigeons, also known as Rock Doves, are a species of bird within the Columbidae family. There are over 300 distinct breeds of pigeons that have been developed over thousands of years of selective breeding.

Due to their widespread distribution and adaptability to human environments, Pigeons are among the most abundant species in the world. Historically they have been heavily persecuted by humans due to their association with carrying diseases and being pests in urban environments. They were also extensively used for food and racing purposes, leading to significant declines in some areas.

The conservation status for most species of pigeons is currently classed as least concern on the IUCN Red List as populations are generally stable or increasing. However, some regional populations exhibit localized declines due to factors such as hunting, habitat loss or predation from introduced predators. Conservation efforts for these localized vulnerable populations have led to improved habitability in their natural ranges with some significant success stories in achieving a degree of population stability or even growth within those areas


Squabs (also known as wild pigeons) have a unique conservation status. They are not considered endangered or threatened, but they are also not abundant enough to be classified as “secure”. Squabs typically nest in undersides of bridges, rock ledges, and tree cavities. Usually active in the early morning and evening, these birds forage for food on open ground near their nests. They eat a combination of grains, green plants and insects, relying heavily on seeds at certain times of the year.

Squabs are important contributors to both the animal population and environment as a whole. In cities like New York City, squab populations may represent more than 30% of all bird species in parks. Squabs reduce rodent populations by feeding on them; insects are greatly decreased due to squab’s presence; they also assist with seed dispersal and with plant pollination, enabling forests to remain strong and healthy. However, their population is subject to significant swings based upon environmental changes such as weather disturbances or disease outbreaks. Consequently, there is an ongoing effort to protect these birds through various conservation initiatives such as habitat restoration programs, research initiatives that focus on studying their behaviors or migratory patterns during certain times of the year and via protection under various laws/acts available across various states within the US..

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