Florentine Pigeon: Breed Guide

The Florentine pigeon is a breed of fancy pigeon originally bred for meat now mainly kept for exhibition purposes.

florentine pigeon

Origins of the Florentine Pigeon

As the name suggests, the Florentine pigeon (also known as the Poule Florentin, Florentino and florentiner tauben) originated in its current form in Florence, Italy.

It is known to have been around since the 19th century when some kind of existing Italian hen pigeon was crossed with racing pigeons from Poland and the United Kingdom to produce a breed with better meat yield.

In more recent times, with the decline in interest in pigeon meat, the Florentine pigeon has become a fancy pigeon for the purpose of keeping and exhibiting.

Distribution And Habitat of the Florentine Pigeon

As a selectively bred type of pigeon, the distribution of the Florentine pigeon is domestic and totally dictated by the location of breeders and owners.

The majority are found in Italy where it is most appreciated. There are also pockets of population in other countries that boast a lot of pigeon fanciers such as the USA, Germany and India.

Florentine Pigeon Appearance

Adult Florentine Pigeon70 – 80 cm 18-23 cm700 – 800 gAll shades of white, blue, yellow, red, black
Average Feral Pigeon64 – 72 cm32 – 37cm300 – 500 gBluish grey with some black.

Generally, the Florentine is quite similar to Modena pigeons and Strasser pigeons.

The main characteristic is the stance and stature, which, like the Modena, is more akin to that of a chicken than other pigeon breeds. In Italy, it is classed as a “hen” pigeon.

The Florentine is a very bulky pigeon with a round body and a horizontal gait. It has a large breast and shoulders, short wings, and an upright tail. Mature females weigh an average of 24 ounces and males 28 ounces.

It is one of the relatively few pigeon breeds that have caruncles – a trait more common to wattle pigeons. In the Florentine pigeon, the caruncles are nasal, white and of average size.

As a bird now mainly kept for ornamental purposes, breeders will seek to attain show standards for the Florentine breed.

The Florentine pigeon has a well-arched head, and a beak that can be described as medium to long that is slightly bent at the tip. Their eyes are very deeply set with an orange iris, surrounded by a very fine cere that is usually a light flesh colour.

The neck area is sharply curved below the mandible (lower jaw) and is covered in lots of thick feathers. The back is short and broad and the breast, too, is very broad.

The Florentine pigeon has powerful wings that rest on the tail but importantly  – for show purposes – should never overlap with the tail scissor. The legs are of a good length, and to meet the breed standard, there should no feathers below the knee joints.

The tail is a medium length, and overall, the prime colour of the Florentine pigeon is white, usually with some head markings that can differ from the prime. Colours include red, yellow, blue, black and black bars.

Character of the Florentine Pigeon

Florentine pigeons are not the best fliers in the world. The unconventional shaping of some of the bird’s major body parts like the head and breast means that they aren’t the most aerodynamic breed.

Lack of aerial ability is not a major issue as breeding has concentrated on other attributes, producing a docile, friendly, alert pigeon so they are much better suited to the aesthetic exhibition life.

Diet of the Florentine Pigeon

As far as diet goes, the Florentine eats what a pigeon eats in general.  For a healthy balanced diet that means a mix of

  • Seeds  
  • Grains  
  • Berries
  • Nuts

As well as the above and a constant supply of fresh drinking water and grit for digestion, Florentine pigeons can enjoy snacks including:

Mating And Breeding Florentine Pigeons

The mating and breeding of the Florentine pigeon is under the direction of their owner.

As a domestic bird there is no wild population, so breeders are responsible for the selective expansion of the breed.

Partners are chosen in order to accentuate and enhance the standard traits of the pigeon, including things like color, size, weight, behaviours and overall basic health.

Taking Care Of Florentine Pigeons

There is nothing particularly special or out of the ordinary that you need to do in order to be able to care for a Florentine pigeon.

The care they require is the same as most other breeds of fancy pigeon, and that is a clean, spacious living habitat, access to plenty of fresh food and water, access to natural sunlight and a nice, covered floor that needs to be cleaned regularly to avoid any kind of contamination.

As a quite large pigeon, the major consideration is space if you are going to keep a number of birds. It is a good idea to build your own pigeon loft.

Denise Bereford

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

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