Spanish Pigeons: Five Different Varieties U0026 Their Characteristics

There are five species of Spanish pigeons, and in this article we will tell you how to identify them.
Spanish pigeons: five different varieties & their characteristics

There are several different species of Spanish pigeons. Everyone may know them,  but few are aware that they actually belong to different species.

Spanish pigeons

Pigeons belong to the family  Columbidae. Only in Spain can you find five different species from it:


Of all the Spanish pigeons  , the most common is without a doubt the rock pigeon  ( Columba livia). However, due to the large number of crossbreeds, they are one of the most difficult to identify.

The rock pigeon is often found in rocky environments or cities, rather than in forest areas, which is why it is named as it does.

The rock pigeon is common

The rock pigeon is the ancestor of the domestic pigeon. It is not uncommon to mix different varieties when breeding domestic pigeons, so it is often difficult to distinguish the pigeon from hybrids.

However, there are several characteristics that allow you to identify rock pigeons. They have  two dark stripes along the wings  that are visible when it is on the ground with the wings folded.

The feathers on the back between the wings should also be white.

Spanish pigeons: ring dove

The ring dove ( Columba palumbus ) is the largest member of the family  Columbidae  in Spain and Europe, and can reach 45 cm in length. This is a type that is mainly found in the forest.

It lives in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Spanish pigeons: Flying ring dove

Thanks to its large size and distinct white spots on the neck, this type is relatively easy to identify among other pigeons. There are additional white spots along the wings that are clearly visible when flying.

Forest pigeon

The wood pigeon ( Columba oenas)  is probably the least known of the Spanish pigeons. It is smaller and more shy than the others and lives mainly in small colonies in forest areas on the coast.

Forest pigeon on the ground

The wood pigeon is almost completely gray, without spots of white. There are some light gray feathers on the back and small black stripes on the wings.


The Turkish pigeon ( Streptopelia decaocto ) is originally from Asia. Over the last century, it has naturally spread in Europe. It came to Spain in the 80’s and has since spread to the  Balearic and Canary Islands.

In North America and Japan it is considered an exotic and invasive species.

Spanish pigeons: Turkish pigeon in water

The Turkish pigeon is lighter than the other Spanish pigeons and thus easy to identify. Its feathers are pale gray and it has a dark “collar” on the side of the neck.

It thrives mainly in more rural areas, but is much more common in cities than the turtle dove. Its ability to colonize new territories and lands is reminiscent of the cohort.


Turtle dove ( Streptopelia turtle ) is one of the rarest of all Spanish pigeons. It is a shy bird that tends to prefer the countryside. Unlike the rest  , it rarely lives close to people.

A beautiful turtle dove

This is the smallest member of the pigeon family, and does not grow much longer than 25 cm. Its wings are very beautiful,  with light brown and black feathers  that resemble fish scales.

It also has an eye-catching collar on the side of the neck that consists of black and white lines. It is one of Europe’s most beautiful domestic birds.

Now you know which Spanish pigeons you can come across if you go on holiday to the region. There are actually more than 300 species in the  Columbidae family, but unfortunately not many of them are well known.

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