Did You Know? Pigeon Milk

Birdorable Rock Pigeon on tree
Birdorable Rock Pigeon

Did you know that some species of bird feed their chicks milk? It's true, but it's not the same kind of milk that mammal mothers feed their young.

This baby bird food is secreted from the lining of the parent bird's crop and then regurgitated to the baby birds. It is high in protein and fat as well as other components important for their growing chicks to consume, like anti-oxidants, ("good") bacteria, and substances to improve the immune system.

All species of pigeons and doves feed crop milk to their young -- for these species the substance is called pigeon milk. Flamingos also feed their young a type of milk, though production occurs in more of the upper digestive tract than just the crop. Male Emperor Penguins produce a similar substance to feed their chicks when the mother bird is away at the time of hatching.

In pigeons and doves, parent birds begin to produce the milk days before their eggs hatch. The chicks, called squabs, eat only crop milk for the first week after hatching. Afterwards other foods are introduced, after being softened inside the parent bird's crop.

Mother's Day Love by Tucker Hammerstrom (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Spotted dove feeding young, 9 days old by Andrea Schaffer (CC BY 2.0)
Mother Dove Feeding Chick by ksblack99 (public domain)

Cute Pigeon Gifts

Comments

Be the first to comment

Comments with links or HTML will be deleted. Your comment will be published pending approval.
Your email address will not be published
You can unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For more information on how to unsubscribe, our privacy practices, and how we are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy, please review our Privacy Policy. By clicking submit below, you consent to allow Birdorable to store and process the personal information submitted above to provide you the content requested.

Crane Festivals

It's Crane Week! You may be wondering where you can find cranes. There are cranes on every continent except for South America and Antarctica. With their elaborate mating dances, haunting calls, impressive size, and epic migrations, cranes are celebrated all around...

Allen's Hummingbird: A Jewel of the California Coast

Today for our Hummingbird Week new bird reveal, we're sharing the Birdorable Allen's Hummingbird!  The Allen's Hummingbird is a small, captivating bird, known for its dazzling colors and remarkable agility. This hummingbird breeds along coastal regions of California and parts of southern Oregon. Despite its petite size, the...

Cute Bird Halloween Pumpkin Patterns

Get ready to dress up your pumpkins this Halloween with some cute Birdorable birds! Below you can download four different cute bird pumpkin carving patterns of varying skill levels as free downloads. Two of our patterns are simple bird cut-outs, and two are inverted designs where the...

Introducing the Birdorable Australian Pelican: The Bird with the World's Largest Beak

Today’s new species breeds in Australia with a winter range that extends to nearby islands, including New Guinea, Fiji, and Indonesia: the Australian Pelican. The Australian Pelican has a white body plumage, mostly black wings, and an enormous beak. At up to nearly...