One of the most brightly colored breeds in the pigeon world, the Archangel pigeon is considered one of the most beautiful show birds.
It is a fancy pigeon known for the metallic sheen of its feathers.
Archangel Naming Conventions
The black and copper colored birds were bred in the UK, so only these types are called Archangels in the UK.
In Germany, it is known as the Gimpeltaube.
Other names, based on colorations, are Copper Blackwing Gimpel, Copper Whitewing and Peak Crested Copper Blackwing.
Archangel Pigeon Origins
There is no documented evidence of this breed, but the general consensus is that it originated in the Balkan region – more specifically Dalmatia (now Croatia) or Illyria (Montenegro/Albania).
It is also generally accepted that the majority of color refinements happened in Germany with one color specifically attributed to the UK.
These two countries and the USA are where this breed is most numerous.
A small to medium bird, the average Archangel pigeon will grow to a height of 30-35 cm and a weight of 280 – 400g.
The sleek round head, regal stance and proud look is why people love this breed as a show bird.
The prized characteristic is the metallic sheen of its feathers and in this respect the Archangel is unique in the pigeon world.
Archangel Pigeon Appearance
Like all pigeons, the Archangel has to meet certain standards in order to be classified as the breed.
This standard applies across the board, but you will note that it does not include color (because there are certain color conventions by country).
Overall, the Archangel is a long and slender looking bird.
This pigeon has a longish, narrow head that is slightly curved.
The crest is a ridge of feathers that converge from both shoulders, running up to the apex, culminating on the head in a sharp conical point.
Not all Archangels have a crest.
It has a long and thin-ish neck.
Long, straight and thin, its beak is light horn darkening closer to the tip which is slightly curved in the upper beak.
The Archangel’s body has a slightly pronounced, wide-ish breast, while the back slopes elegantly down to the tail.
The moderately long wings have close feathers making them look tight and they should sit nicely on the tail but without crossing over each other nor extending to the tip of the tail.
The long and narrow tail also has a tightly closed appearance, usually with 12 feathers and should not touch the ground when the pigeon is standing.
The breed standard states there are two colors for the Archangel’s body – bronze or gold (similar to the coloring of the common bronzewing pigeon).
Wings can be blue, black or white but most of the various color combinations are only acceptable in the USA.
Germany does not recognize many of the colorways and in the UK, a black and copper combination is the only acceptable color for an Archangel.
Breeding The Archangel
Although breeding this pigeon is a simple process, if you are breeding for show purposes be prepared for the majority of offspring not reaching show quality.
With few inherent or acquired health problems, the Archangel is quite good at producing offspring.
Their good fertilisation rate means most eggs will hatch.
Keeping the Archangel as a pet
Although primarily a show bird, this breed makes a great pet and looked after well, they will live longer than other breeds – 7 to 10 years and tolerate most climates.
They are also cheaper to keep than other breeds for the simple matter that they eat less.
As they require less space, they are a good choice where space is limited.
After normalisation, this is an incredibly friendly bird with a lively disposition, especially if you raise it from hatchling.
Adult birds might need a little time to get used to human contact, but they lack aggression and are known to happily eat out of an owner’s hand.
If you are looking to start keeping pigeons as pets or for show, the Archangel makes an excellent breed to start with.
Though be aware that they are not a good choice of pigeon for racing!