Do Pigeons Have Good Eyesight?

Despite a pigeon’s lack of depth perception they actually have better eyesight than humans.

They can see ultraviolet light and have a 340-degree field of vision.

Pigeons Have Better Eyesight Than Humans

Their eyesight is better than humans and with the addition that they can also see ultra-violet light too. 

Pigeons can see in color. 

Unlike human eyes, pigeons find it easier to focus on stationary objects than moving ones. 

Typically as in prey animals, pigeons have monocular vision, their eyes located on either side of their heads. 

Field of View: pigeon vs owl (from Wikimedia Commons)

They have a 340 degree of field of vision.

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They Lack Depth Perception

One of the characteristics of pigeons is that they continuously bob their heads

The motion has been explained as an act of balance because of the way their legs are situated on their bodies, but there is another factor involved.  

This is to compensate for their lack of depth perception. 

When viewing objects, especially when moving on the ground, they have to constantly refocus their eyesight. 

As you would expect of an avian species, their downward sight is very well developed and ground focused. 

The composition of their eyes have developed in this manner.

Pigeon Eye Shape

Birds, including pigeons, have larger eyes in proportion to their body size than other animals. 

The shape of their eyes is also different. 

The lenses are much flatter. 

Because they basically have monocular type vision, a pigeon’s range of vision is far greater than that of a binocular type like an owl. 

In fact, by their sideways monocular vision, pigeon’s sight is twice as good as humans.


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.

Pigeons Are Ever Watchful

Have you ever tried to sneak up on a pigeon? 

It’s pretty difficult, if not impossible. 

As feral birds, they are survivalists and very aware of what’s going on around them. 

When they are bumbling along on the ground, you may think they are in another world entirely, but they are not. 

Pigeons are ever watchful and their good eyesight helps keep them out of danger, despite the constant refocusing they have to contend with. 

Many times in well-trafficked areas they seem oblivious when humans approach but don’t believe it, they are well aware of you.  


Cristina Vulpe

Cristina hold a Ph.D. in Veterinary Oncology and co-authored a scientific presentation on the Radiological Contrast Studies of the Digestive Tractus in Pigeons which was published by the European Society of Radiology. She is responsible for writing our health-related articles and ensuring that any medical information published is correct.

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