Albino Pigeon in the snow

Albino Pigeon – Pigeon Facts, Symbolism, and Worth

Albino pigeons are typically plump birds with small heads and short legs. They have small bills with a skin saddle (cere) between their bills and forehead. Their feathers will be mostly or completely white due to a lack of melanin. Eye color is a defining trait of pigeons suffering from albinism.

Overview

About 1% of pigeons that are considered ‘white’ are either albino or leucistic. With over 300 species, you can find pigeons all over the world with the exception of regions under extreme climate conditions.

This article will cover albino pigeon traits, habitats, and the hardships of albinism in pigeons. You will learn about what it means when you see an albino pigeon and how much are albino pigeons worth.

Albinism In Pigeons

A close up of a normal pigeon standing beside an albino pigeon on the stairs
@ FocusedCapture | Flickr

Albinism is a rare lifelong condition, which affects the production of melanin, resulting in the lack of pigment. It affects humans and animals alike causing them to have white hair and pale skin. An individual with this disorder is called an albino.

  • Length: 12-14 in (32-37 cm)
  • Weight: 8.4-13 oz (238 -368 g)
  • Wingspan: 25-28 in (64-72 cm)

Albino pigeons are identified by their all-white appearance. And because they have albinism, they will have red or pinkish eyes and flesh-colored feet, legs and bills due to their lack of pigment.

Habitat

Pigeons are found all over the world with the exception of climates with extreme heat or cold temperatures. These areas would include the Sahara Desert, Antarctica, and the high Arctic.

Pigeons we know today originated in Europe, North Africa, and Asia. They are adaptive and intelligent; you will find them in greater numbers in areas of cultivation. Pigeons have learned to take advantage of human productivity and architecture to provide shelter

Albino pigeons are no different in this sense and can be found in the same geographic locations.

Nesting

The main requirement for a pigeon nesting site is that it is dry and protected on a flat surface. Typically they will nest in attics, roofs, ledges, eaves, and under bridges.

Their natural nesting site would be more suited to cliff crevices or in a cave.

A pigeon nest is not a pretty sight. It is a hodgepodge of grass stems, pine needs, twigs, and other debris. Their nests are used throughout the year and will start to accumulate droppings and feathers.

While other species of birds may remove droppings from the nests, pigeons do not. Their droppings are essentially the glue that holds the nest together.

After a brood is pushed from the nests, the pair will use the same nest and site for the next brood and simply add more material. These reused nests may be reused multiple years and can grow up to 8 inches tall and 20 inches wide.

Some may include “mummies” of pigeons that may not have survived and/or unhatched eggs.

Eggs and Squabs

Female pigeons will typically lay about two eggs within their first few days of nesting. Both the male and female will sit on the eggs to insulate them. These eggs will hatch after about 18 days and are born in yellow down.

Young pigeons are called “squabs.” In order for a squab to be born albino, both parents must carry the gene for albinism.

At first, albino baby pigeons will look and behave no different than a typical squab. While in the nest, they will eat crop milk. Crop milk is a thick regurgitated liquid from the parent’s mouth. Squabs are fed this way for about ten days when they can start eating what adult female and male pigeons eat.

A squab will double in size within about two days making them one of the fastest growing vertebrates. Within two weeks, noticeable differences will begin to show. They will start to grow their flight feathers which due to their disorder will be white in color. By the third week, they will be covered in white feathers, and by their 28th day and it will be time to leave the nest.

It is worth noting that a squab is in their nests about 15 days longer than most backyard birds. This is because it takes longer to develop the strength needed to fly. This can be even longer for an albino as they are typically weaker.

Once the young bird has left the nest, the female pigeon will begin to lay new eggs, a cycle that occurs almost every month.

Life Expectancy

The oldest recorded pigeon on record lived to be around 33 years old. Domesticated pigeons have been known to live up to 15 years while pigeons in the wild, have an average lifespan that ranges between 3 and 5 years. Pigeons have many obstacles that affect their lifespan. This is especially true for pigeons suffering from albinism.

Although albino pigeons are striking, and very visually appealing due to their rarity, their appearance actually puts them at a disadvantage compared to other pigeons.

For starters, the mutation causes them to have poor eyesight making it difficult to see threats and possible predators. Albino pigeons tend to be weaker and will fly less frequently than normal pigeons. Their absence of melanin strips them of their pigment making their feathers white and pale.

These limitations make them easier prey to a number of predators. Birds like the falcon, sparrowhawks, and owls all are natural predators of the pigeon. Other dangers include foxes, snakes, cats, dogs, and even rats that will target unsuspecting pigeons.

What Does it Mean When You See an Albino Pigeon?

A pair of pigeons on the street. One is albino and the other is a normal pigeon.
@ Hedera.Baltica | Flickr

Pigeons in general are symbolic of fertility and prosperity. They also symbolize fortune, luck, and transformation. It is said they are one of the first bird species to be domesticated by humans. This is especially true for white-colored pigeons and doves because they are so rare.

Here are 4 common spiritual meanings behind albino and white pigeons.

Peace

The white dove or pigeon is a sign that it is time to find peace within yourself. When your heart weighs heavy with turmoil and you see a white pigeon, it is a promise that things will get better no matter how painful.

Hope

The universe will send you reassurance in the form of a white dove or pigeon to encourage you to never give up. Never give up on your dreams because things are not working out as you expected.

Lost Love

If you see a white pigeon, the spirit of a lost loved one has come to tell you that they are with you and they still love you. They arrive in your life at a time when you are feeling the pain of losing a loved one.

Visiting Angel

Angels are often associated with a white feather. Seeing a dove is a sign that your guardian angel has come to visit and tell you that they love you and are always with you. This occurrence happens when you are feeling the pain of losing a loved one.

Related Questions

Is an Albino Pigeon a Dove?

Answer: No

Pigeons and doves are in the same taxonomic family known as Columbidae and are descendants of the wild Rock dove. The family contains 344 species that are divided into 50 genera. Historically, the smaller species tend to be called doves while the larger ones are called pigeons. However, this description is not consistent and does not exist in most other languages.

“Albino” refers to a genetic condition. Albinism is a rare group of genetic disorders that cause the skin, hair, or eyes to have little or no color. An albino pigeon is white due to its lack of color or pigmentation and is not considered a color.

How Much Are Albino Pigeons Worth?

Pigeon racing is a sport for the upper and middle class in parts of China. About 90,000 pigeon breeders in Beijing registered with the Racing Pigeons Association.

Prizes for these races can range in the tens of thousands of dollars. With such high stakes, these birds can go for top dollar.

In March 2019, a Chinese racing fan spent USD 1.9 million for a prized pigeon on Sunday. This shattered the previous record of $1.4 million. The previous record was set by a Belgian-bred bird named Armando, an albino pigeon.

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