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How High Do Pigeons Fly?

How High Do Pigeons Fly?

Pigeons can fly high but not as high as endangered birds such as Ruppel’s griffon vulture. The vulture can fly at the height of 37,000 feet. This is the same height that commercial airplanes cruise. Other birds such as headed goose can fly over the Himalayas which are about 28,000 feet high.

Pigeons can fly at an average speed of between 77.6-92.5 mph at an altitude of 6000 feet. Also, if you train it, it can fly at an altitude of over 6000 feet and may cover between 600- 800 miles in one day. The bird can fly back to its loft if taken away from the owner. 

Notice that all the birds that fly at a very high altitude have their forelimbs modified to serve as wings. They also feature a streamlined body that reduces air resistance to allow it to cruise even higher. Also, they feature a hollow skeleton which greatly reduces their weight and allows them to fly at a higher altitude. Here are the pigeons’ fascinating flying habits.

How Far Can A Pigeon Fly Without Landing?

In a single day, pigeons may fly about 600-700 miles in a day. But records show that the longest flying pigeon was able to fly from Africa to England, covering a distance of 7000 miles. The bird flew for 55 days.  Studies show that pigeons can navigate around using the earth’s magnetic field. Also, they keep monitoring the sun’s direction as they fly.

Pigeons see colors and are capable of seeing ultraviolet light meaning that they can easily see things which human beings cannot see. So, it makes it easier for them to fly around, and you can use them in rescue missions. Generally, they have higher abilities compared to other bird species. For example, they can see their reflection in the mirror. Also, they can recognize and conceptualize all 26 alphabetical letters.  Also, pigeons can differentiate people in a photograph.

Homing pigeons can fly over 500 to 800 miles without the need to stop, drink water, or eat food.

How Far Can A Trained Pigeon Fly?

Trained pigeons develop resistance and endurance, which enable them to fly about 1,600 km. These are specially bred pigeons.  It explains why you can use the bird to convey messages within a short distance during war times.

If it is well trained, you can send a pigeon to a place that is 100 miles away and it will return home without a problem. The experienced types can do 200 miles without a problem. But when you increase the distance to 400 miles, only experienced pigeons can cover the distance and return home safely. But most of them run the risks of accidents, including flying into unseen wire or flying into the hands of predators.

Can Pigeons Find Their Way Home And Deliver Messages?

Pigeons can find their way home. So, you can use them to deliver messages and return home safely. They can fly and easily locate their home thanks to the metallic crystals found in the inner ear, allowing them to make use of the earth’s magnetic field. But to use them to deliver messages, it may be necessary that you carry pigeons from the destination where you plan to deliver the message. You will then attach a small note on the bird and release it to fly home.

Specialists can train them to take such messages anywhere or to a particular person. But home pigeons can only deliver messages over vast distances.  You can use such pigeons to deliver messages to a community where the keeper would pick the message and give it to the right person. 

To use this service, you will need to transport several pigeons from the destination to which you want the bird to convey the message. It means that anyone planning to use these services needs to have several pigeons to release one when they want it to convey a message.

Therefore, to send you a message at a letter date just need to pick a pigeon from your loft. At an appropriate time, the person will then write a message on a piece of paper and attach it to the pigeon before releasing it to fly back home. Soldiers easily release a pigeon with a message when they run out of supplies or get in some kind of trouble.

Can You Race Pigeons?

Pigeon racing is a sport that many enthusiasts across the globe enjoy. It is common in Belgium and the UK. Typically, it is the racing clubs that are in charge of pigeon racings. They take the birds to some distance, release them and expect them to find their way back to their loft. The club will then look at the time it takes to cover the distance and compare it with the time competitors take to cover the respective distance.

The organizers will then calculate the bird’s rate of travel and declare a winner. In some cases, organizers fit each bird with a radio frequency identification chip which helps to read the time when the bird arrives at its loft. The organizers place an antenna at the loft entrance to scan and read the RFID chip, and the electronic clock is then linked to the antenna to record the arrival time.

Playboy is one of the pigeons continuing to win races and fetching the colossal owner amounts of money. The pigeon Belgium owner sold it to a Japanese businessman at $78,404.

This is double the price of a normal racing pigeon. The bird won the Barcelona race in 2008, resulting in many offers from bidders interested in buying the bird.


The pigeon can cover vast distances if it is well trained. Also, it can fly at a higher altitude compared to other birds. But in races, some fail to finish when they fall into the hands of a predator. In other cases, they do not complete the race due to adverse weather conditions and exhaustion.