Do Pigeons Eat Other Birds?


do pigeons eat other birds

There are plenty of birds that do prey on other birds, but pigeons are not one of them.

Their beaks and claws are not capable of tearing flesh.

Unlike many other birds pigeons do not have separate stomachs and gizzards, instead they just have a gizzard. This makes digesting raw meat very difficult for them.

Why Pigeons Can’t Eat Other Birds

The anatomy and digestive system of a pigeon holds the answer as to why eating other birds, or other flesh, isn’t an option.

In general, a bird’s digestive system involves food passing through the beak and making its way through two separate stomachs that perform two separate tasks.

The first stomach is called the proventriculus and it contains the digestive juices that are responsible for breaking down the food.

From the proventriculus, the broken down food then moves into the second stomach which is called the gizzard.

Viscera of pigeon. Source = Zoology; an elementary text-book (1901)

The gizzard works to grind down the food and make it suitable for final digestion.

The thing about pigeons, however, is that they do not have stomachs, only gizzards.

Taking an entire section of the preferred digestive process out of the equation means that trying to eat things like meat is incredibly difficult, if not completely impossible for a pigeon.

Something else that is a major factor in a pigeon’s inability to eat other birds is the natural design of its beak.

Whilst some more predatory species of birds like hawks and owls are blessed with beaks and talons that are perfect for ripping and tearing flesh, a pigeon’s beak is far more suited to picking up and swallowing small, whole things like seeds and grains.

Even if a pigeon were able to digest flesh, it would have difficulty in using its beak to create the sawing or tearing motion required to get pieces small enough to swallow.

Also, pigeons don’t have teeth so are unable to chew and break the meat down that way.

That said in extreme cases pigeons may eat other birds eggs if they have no other food available.

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