Palearctic, Oceanic Islands, Nearctic, Oriental, Ethiopian, Neotropical, Australian: Wild Columba livia are native to Europe, North Africa, and southwestern Asia. Feral pigeons are found worldwide, including throughout all of North America. It should be noted that occurrence within this range is not evenly distributed (see habitat).
The rock dove has a dark bluish-gray head, neck, and chest with glossy yellowish, greenish, and reddish-purple iridesence along its neck and wing feathers. Females tend to show less iridesence than the males. The bill is dark grayish-pink. Two dark bands across the wings are seen in most pigeons, and one bluish-gray band across the tail. Rock doves and feral pigeons can be divided into a large number of different phenotypes, or groups based on outward characteristics. Some of these classifications are the blue-bar, blue checker, dark checker, spread, and red phenotypes.
Rock doves feed in the early morning and in the mid-afternoon on the open ground. They eat mainly seeds. Studies of pigeons in a semi-rural part of Kansas found that their diet includes the following: 92% corn, 3.2% oats, 3.7% cherry, along with small amounts of knotweed, elm, poison ivy, and barley. In cities, feral pigeons also eat popcorn, cake, peanuts, bread, and currants.
Pairs may be formed at any point during the year. These pairs are formed for life, and each bird works cooperatively on most aspects of reproduction and young-rearing. The male builds the nest, and the eggs are laid shortly after the nest is finished. Both males and females incubate the eggs. Eggs hatch approximately 19 days after being laid.
Pigeons generally walk or run while bobbing their heads forward and backward. They fly with a steady and direct path. Pigeons are most often seen during daylight, seeking cover at night and in during the heat of the day, according to the climate. They flock while roosting, sunning, and feeding, but no play has been observed. In the nesting territory, both sexes are aggresive, pecking intruders on the head.
Wild rock doves nest in crevices along rocky seaside cliffs, close to agriculture or open shrub vegetation. Feral pigeons live in old farm buildings in rural areas. In cities, the skyscrapers tend to take the place of their natural cliff surroundings.