How Do Pigeons Mate: The Mechanics Of Pigeon Sex

Pigeon sex isn’t noted for its longevity, it’s more like the fast and furious of the avian world.

The female crouches down to try and present a stable platform for the cock (male pigeon) to clamber onto.

pigeons having sex while another pigeon observes

Pigeons don’t have a penis or vagina-type sexual organs instead they have cloacal openings which are used for urination, pooping, laying eggs (for the females), and mating.

Once the male has mounted the female’s back mating takes place as a meeting of their cloacas, this is called a “cloacal kiss”.

how do pigeons mate?
how do pigeons mate?

Afterward males will often engage in a display called ‘clapping’.

pigeons mating

They soar into the sky and bring their wings in a clapping motion.

Sexual Organs

Pigeons, like some other animals, don’t have a separate set of sexual or reproduction organs.

Everything is tied to their anal tract, called the cloaca. This is also sometimes called the vent.

It is a channel or canal which serves the birds as a digestive, excretory and reproductive tract.

It isn’t a one-way system as it has a double function of carrying male sperm to the female’s ovaries.

The male pigeon has exactly the same, which makes sex awkward.


The cloaca is a chamber and outlet which both male and female pigeons possess (and most birds), into which the intestinal, urinary, and genital tracts open.

In male pigeons it also houses the testes, in female pigeons the ovaries.

In both genders when they are ready to mate, their testes and ovaries swell or inflate respectively.

Actually, one of the brief times that you can physically tell the difference between males and females is by looking at their cloaca.

Both swell during the breeding season, but the males tend to inflate more as they produce and hold their sperm there.

The Act Itself

pigeons mating

The sexual act itself tends to look like a pair of untrained acrobats trying to perform.

The female crouches down to try and present a level and stable platform for the cock to clamber onto.

She may also bow or bob her head to maintain balance and help the male.

As neither has actual sexual organs, mating takes place as a meeting of their cloaca.

The male stands on top of the female’s lower back, lowers himself and arches to get into position.

She makes herself ready by shifting her tail feathers aside to expose her cloaca.

As this is an awkward stance and both are trying to maintain balance long enough to perform, the male does a lot of wing flapping.

When both cloaca touch and rub against each other, a fleeting meeting called a ‘cloaca kiss’, the male’s sperm is transferred.

The female sucks it into her own cloaca and it travels along the tract to her ovaries.

Both birds will probably stay sexually excited for a week or more and their mating will probably take place several more times to make sure of success.

It’s worth mentioning that, contrary to the urban myth, pigeons do not die after mating!

Also Read: How To Breed Pigeons Faster


Awkward and funny it may be but judging by the number of pigeons in the world it can be seen that it is a highly effective method of reproduction.

They may look comical strutting and waddling around on the ground, but when it comes to the survival of the species, you have to take your hat off to those pigeons.


This article was written by our qualified veterinarian Cristina.

This is part of our commitment to providing you with the most trustworthy veterinary advice for your pigeons.


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