Why Do Pigeons Eat Leaves?

Pigeons will eat leaves from trees and plants in an attempt to maintain a balanced diet. 

It is well known that their stable diets are seeds and grains, but these don’t meet all their nutritional needs to stay healthy. 

Pigeons will supplement their diet with other things such as small insects and fruit, for added protein.

They will eat leaves to make up for the calcium deficiency they would have if they only ate grains and seeds.

Pigeons Eating Brassicas

This is the scientific name or family of the type of plant leaves that pigeons most like to eat.

pigeon eating brassicas

They are also called cruciferous vegetables or simply cole crops. The Latin name means a plant that has a stalk or stem.

At over 30 species on the list, it includes everything from cabbage to watercress.

They can all be found in back garden vegetable patches and allotments, as well as being grown commercially.

Through the pigeon’s history, they have learned that these once wild, now domesticated, greens are vital to maintaining health because they contain essential vitamins.

Brassicas contain Vitamin C and K, manganese, soluble fibers and glucosinolates.

All of which help with pigeons’ nutritional needs and promotes good health.

Pigeons Eating Tree Leaves

There are also trees that fall under this category.

They include plum, cherry, lilac, nectarine, apricot, apple, and peach.

Pigeons will gladly eat the leaves of all these trees and some of the fruit too.

The tree leaves are eaten minus the veins as these are tough for them to get through.

The pits and seeds of these trees they leave alone too because they contain a chemical called cardiac-toxic cyanide, which is poisonous to them (and humans).  

Also read:

What do pigeons eat?
Do pigeons eat oats?
Can pigeons eat bread?
Can pigeons eat rice?
Do pigeons eat worms?
Do pigeons eat peanuts?

What Leaves are Good for Pet Pigeons

If you keep pigeons you will know that seeds and grains should only constitute 50% of their diet.

Their diet can be supplemented with leaves that are good to feed your pet such as peas, cauliflower, cabbages, broccoli and sprouts.

Other than pea tops which are only really available if you grow your own, the leaves can be easily found at your local shops.


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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