Do Pigeons Eat Fruit?

Pigeons will and do eat fruit but due to the nature of their beak, they cannot eat every type of fruit.

do pigeons eat fruit

It is always assumed that urban pigeons will eat practically anything but this is only true to the extent that they will only eat anything that they can easily access with their beak.

There are some foods that are too difficult for a pigeon’s beak to pick up and others that are unsuitable because pigeons have no teeth and their beaks are not designed for any kind of cutting or ripping motion.

So, the range of fruit they can eat is limited. 

Do Pigeons Eat Fruit?

The simple answer is yes, pigeons do eat fruit.

There are even some pigeons whose diet has developed to be almost entirely fruit-based.

Known frugivores are the pink-necked green pigeon who love to eat figs, the near-threatened Kererū, AKA New Zealand Pigeon, and the fruit doves of the South Pacific of which there are 57 known species.

pink necked green pigeons love fruit
Pink Necked Green Pigeons are known to love figs

The nature of a pigeon’s beak makes it very difficult for them to engage in any major kind of biting or ripping of large, sturdy food items, which means that you won’t find a pigeon tucking into a ripe apple in the same way that a large animal might.

Instead, the kinds of fruits that pigeons in the wild will enjoy eating are things like small berries on trees and bushes.

Berries are in fact very popular among pigeons, along with other similarly sized and soft options like grapes, blueberries and olives.

This does not mean, however, that pigeons are completely unable to explore other types of fruit, they just need to do so with a little assistance from their owner.

Things like apples, pears, bananas and other larger fruits are all fine for a pigeon to eat, but they can only do so if they are chopped up into small pieces their beaks can handle.

When it comes down to it though, pigeons will always opt for grains, seeds and nuts over fruit and most will also choose vegetables over fruit.

For vegetables, they prefer a range of leafy greens like spinach, kale and lettuce, and you can even throw in a few portions still attached to the stalks which a pigeon will enjoy trying to tear apart with their beak.

What Fruits Should Pigeons Avoid?

Whilst the majority of fruits are absolutely fine for a pigeon, there are a couple of things that you need to remember to avoid if you want your bird to remain as healthy as possible.

There are some fruit seeds that contain toxic chemicals.

Apple seeds contain a very small amount of cyanide, small enough not to bother a human at all, but something as small as a pigeon might experience some gut irritation.

pigeons eating seed

Other fruits to avoid feeding to pigeons are greengages, apricots, red cherries, black cherries, peaches, plums, pears and nectarines.

Even though the fruit itself is fine when chopped up in small amounts, never allow your pigeons your access to chew on their seeds, pits and stones.

Of all the foods toxic to birds, the main fruit to never offer your pigeons is avocado.

It might be the trendy breakfast item for humans at the moment, but it can definitely be harmful to your birds!

Avocados contain persin, a substance that is absolutely fine for the human digestive system but is toxic to pigeons.

In the very worst-case scenarios, eating a large amount of persin-packed avocado can fatally poison a pigeon or cause a cardiac or respiratory arrest.

So, what’s the bottom line?

When it comes to pigeons and fruit, the answer is that yes, they can eat a rather wide variety of fruits as long as you chop them small enough to be comfortably edible.

Avoid apple seeds if you can, and certainly avoid avocados at all costs, but other than that, you can enjoy treating your bird(s) to a diet that includes a variety of tasty fruits as well as all the other things pigeons like to eat.

Denise Bereford

Denise Bereford is a full-time writer and researcher with a long-standing passion for pigeons.

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