Seraphim Pigeon: Breed Guide


a pair of seraphim pigeons

The Seraphim pigeon is a beautiful, painstakingly bred show pigeon with an interesting backstory.

Origins of the Seraphim Pigeon

The Seraphim pigeon was bred in East Moline, Illinois, USA  by a dedicated pigeon fancier named Anne Ellis.

After caring for and becoming expertly acquainted with her flock of Classic Oriental Frills over the years, Anne began to pair specially chosen birds with one another until she finally achieved the result she was hoping for: a pigeon that lost the traditional red feathers of the Oriental Frill and gained a completely white appearance. 

Anne was so surprised by this achievement that her reaction upon seeing them for the first time was ‘angels!’, and that is exactly why the Seraphim pigeon is also known as the “White Angel of the Pigeon Fancy”.

Having achieved the colour change, Ellis then went about refining the other now distinctive characteristics of the breed but making the Seraphim pigeon an official breed took a number of years.

Recognition was gained in the USA in 1995 and was followed by recognition in Europe, firstly by France in 1997.

Annual shows are held in various countries, there are national Seraphim associations/clubs and the most recent show standard was set in 2017. 

Side note: Seraphim is actually the plural form of the word seraph. A single seraphim pigeon is technically a seraph, never pluralise seraphim to seraphims

Seraphim Pigeon Distribution And Habitat

As a bird purely bred for exhibition purposes, there are no wild Seraphim pigeons.

Distribution is completely random according to the country of residence of the owner.

Their habitat is purely domestic

Status

The Seraphim pigeon is classified as a fancy domestic pigeon in the rare breeds group.

The very nature of their selective breeding makes them rare, but not endangered or at risk.

The breed is difficult to find simply because they are only bred by a handful of pigeon fanciers.

An internet search on Seraphim pigeons for sale doesn’t usually elicit many results. 

Seraphim Pigeon Appearance

One of the most striking breeds, the Seraphim has a number of distinctive characteristics, the most obvious of which is its stunning white colouring.

The pigeon is not born with white feathers.

The colour is produced by activation of a gene that produces the white colour on the second moulting of juvenile feathers which are either red or yellow.  

Their stance is important as it further conveys the impression of an angel.

The pigeon is statuesque and elegant with head held high and chest forward and upwards to proudly display the prominent frill.  

The standard for the breed is a slim body with a head that is held high and a tail that rests low, almost touching the ground.

The shape of the head is hugely important in judging standards where an apple shape with visible gullet is expected along with very dark (bull) eyes.

There should be a needlepoint peak and swooping mane.

The Seraphim pigeon’s wings are very well defined and delineated from the body, with each toe covered in so many white feathers that it almost gives the impression of a star!

The curve of the beak is smooth and elegant, with a small cere that matches the white colour of the rest of the bird. 

Hens are slighter but with more refined features than the cocks but the overwhelming theme with the appearance of the Seraphim pigeon is absolutely everything white, and every elegant!

Character of a Seraphim Pigeon

Seraphim pigeons are known for being extremely agile in the air, which makes them a joy to watch when in flight.

More than many other kinds of pigeons and other bird species, the Seraphim pigeon is able to perform quick turns and fast twists, even backflips when it is feeling especially frisky and excited!

It seems that their genetic beginnings as Oriental Frills which have stunning aerial skills has not been bred out of them. 

What you sacrifice for this amazing agility in a Seraphim pigeon is often their tameness.

Compared to other breeds of a similar size, the Seraphim pigeon can tend to be much less calm, often not wanting to spend too much time near humans.

You might find that an especially timid Seraphim pigeon will even flee from a full nest to find a safe space for themselves if you wander too close.

Continual contact is required to maintain a healthy owner/bird relationship.

In terms of their relationships with other birds, they can be very territorial if they feel like a foe is posing a threat, but they can also be quarrelsome if their perception of personal space is encroached.

Small and strong, Seraphim pigeons are also very smart and curious in their own way, and they have the capacity to learn very quickly.

They are renowned for being very effective problem solvers.

Not known for being the loudest of breeds, the Seraphim pigeon will engage in classic loud cooing when the time comes to begin the courtship rituals and produce noise to entice a mate.

Seraphim Pigeon Diet

The best food for them consists of a good quality seed mix.

The birds enjoy a variety of different seed sources so that they do not get bored of their daily routine, and this variety can be anything from sunflower seeds to millet to wheat to safflower to milo to rapeseed.

Something that has been noticed about the Seraphim pigeon is that they tend to like to eat peas more than lots of other types of ingredients. 

Seraphim Mating and Breeding

It took years of dedicated selective breeding for Anne Ellis to achieve the Seraphim pigeon, and the concentrated and delivery genetic expression that the show standard birds have is very hard to maintain.

This is not made easier because Seraphim pigeons, when left to their own devices, are actually not the most effective breeders.

Fanciers who are looking to own perfect examples of a Seraphim pigeon will need to involve themselves in careful and selective breeding.

This pigeon is essentially a designer pet, so any kind of involvement with a different variation of the species is not going to result in a pure white, officially regarded Seraphim pigeon.

This is the reason, after all, why is it regarded as a rare breed!

In terms of the actual nuts and bolts of the process, Seraphim pigeons can breed from six months of age, after which the males will engage in classic courtship dances.

A well-matched pair can produce up to 16 chicks in a year with the parents being attentive even after fledging. 

Taking Care Of Seraphim Pigeons

Seraphim pigeons are not effective homing pigeons, so for this reason they are not recommended for being let out to fly around completely independently.

Like all pigeons and doves, however, they do need plenty of room and a flow of fresh outdoor air.

A loft is an ideal location for the Seraphim pigeon and the larger the better so if you can build a pigeon coop to your own specifications so much the better.

Seraphim pigeons do not enjoy tiny perches.

They are strong birds that enjoy walking around, and a larger perch is something that much better suits their physical activities.

The higher up their perch the happier your pigeon will be. 

You should also cover their loft floor with a layer of something like straw, cob pellets, hay or cedar chips.

This helps to prevent various diseases, along with lowering the risk of things like soiled feet and feathers because these two are an important aspect of the show standard. p.s. when you rake out the flooring to replace it, use it on the garden – Seraphim droppings are high in phosphorous and nitrogen.

Ensure there is plenty of water and not just for drinking but because one of the cutest quirks of the Seraphim is that they love to bathe with some owners reporting they do it at around the same time every day!

The Seraphim is hardy and can withstand extreme temperatures, but natural sunlight is essential for the health of all birds, so wherever you choose to house your pigeons, make sure they have access to natural sunlight or at the very least, very good artificial light in darker winter months.

As an owner, one of the key issues is enabling your Seraphim to fly.

You need a good-sized aviary because it is not advisable to allow your prized bird(s) to fly free.

Not only are their homing instincts poor but their bright white colouring makes them highly attractive prey for hawks.

Many owners have stories of the Seraphim who was let out to fly and never returned.

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