Pigeon Banding Explained

Pigeon bands help identify where birds are from and who they belong to.

To work this out you need to understand what the numbers and letters on the band mean.

Bands numbers are laid out like this:

[Country Code – Year – Organisation (optional) Ring Number]

For example, GB-2020-F-28768, tells us:

GB – this pigeon is from Great Britain (AKA the United Kingdom)
2020 – the pigeon was born in 2020
F – this tells you which organization the pigeon belongs to (this is not used by many organizations)
28345 – the pigeon’s unique identification number

Country Code

These consist of two or more letters that tell you which country the pigeon belongs to.

Most countries have one overarching organization for the whole country to which all pigeon clubs will belong to.

Be aware that the USA has two main organizations so has two different codes:

  • American Racing Pigeon Union (AU)
  • International Federation of American Homing Pigeon
    Fanciers (IF)
AUAmerican Racing Pigeon Unionpigeon.org
AUSTRIAÖsterreichischer Verband Der Brieftaubenzuchterbrieftauben.at
BELG/BERoyale Federation Colombophile Belgekbdb.be
CU/CRPUCanadian Racing Pigeon Unioncrpu.ca
CZCeskomoravsky Svaz Chovatelu Postovnich Holobupostovniholub.cz
DANDe Danske Brevdueforeningerbrevduen.dk
DVVerband Deutscher Brieftaubenzüchter e.v.brieftaube.de
ESPReal Federacion Colombofila Espanolarealfede.com
FINSuomen Viestikyuhky-yhdistyksenviestikyyhky.fi
FRFederation Colombophile Francaisecolombophiliefr.com
RPR/GB/UKThe Royal Pigeon Racing Associationrpra.org
HUNGMaygar Postagalambsport Szovetsegpostagalamb.hu
IFInternational Federation of American Homing Pigeon
ITAFederazione Colombofila Italianacolomboviaggiatore.it
LTLithuanian Racing Pigeon Association
LUXFederation Colombophile Luxembourgeouise
MALTAFederation of Pigeon Racing Clubs of Maltamaltafederationofracingpigeons.com
NLNederlandse Postduivenhouders Organisatieduivensportbond.nl
NORNorges Brevdueforbundbrevduesport.no
PLPolski Zwiazek Hodowcow Golebi Pocztowychpzhgp.pl
PORTFederacao Portuguesa De Colombofiliafpcolumbofilia.pt
ROFederatia Romana De Sport Columbofila
SKSlovensky Zvaz Chovatelov Posovych Holubovpostoveholuby.sk
SWESvenska Brevduvesportbrevduvesport.net

Knowing which country a pigeon is from will help you narrow down which organization they belong to.

The organization can then put you in touch with the relevant club or owner.


The year simply tells you what year the pigeon was born.

This can either be two numbers or four numbers long, e.g: 17, 2017.

A well-cared-for racing pigeon can live for more than 20 years so (at the time of writing) the year could even be as far back as 2001 or even the late 90s in rare cases.


Organization codes are not used by all federations.

Federations including Slovak, Czech, Hungarian, and German federations do use them.

These usually start with ‘0’ and will precede the ring number.

Pigeon Ring Number

4532 – This is a number that will help pigeon fanciers identify the pigeon as theirs.

The club to which the pigeon belongs will use it to identify them.

It can be as short as 2 digits or significantly longer.

Also Read: Why Do Pigeons Have Tags On Their Feet


Dan has been fascinated with pigeons since his youth when he used to feed them breadcrumbs at the local park. With a background in SEO Dan noticed a few years ago that there were very few websites around dedicated to his favorite bird so he set out to change that by starting Pigeonpedia.

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