Can Pigeons Swim? | Let’s Find Out

Pigeons are neat birds with a long and interesting history, but they are not natural swimmers. They certainly aren’t afraid of the water either and enjoy floating and splashing around for short periods of time. 

They need water for their survival, and you will generally find them close to a resource of some sort, basking in the sun.

While they need and even enjoy playing in the water, they will generally stay on dry land or close to it. Since pigeons don’t hunt for their food in the water, swimming isn’t necessary for survival.  

Why Can’t Pigeons Swim In Water?

Pigeons belong to a bird family called Columbidae, and they can be found all over the world, on land and near water. One of the major reason is the body design of the bird that restrict their swimming abilities in the water. Pigeon’s bodies are short and stout with short necks, and their feet aren’t webbed, making it difficult for them to swim. 

Without the webbed feet, they also don’t have any way to paddle and navigate through water. Pigeons can float for a short time but would get tired quickly and eventually drown if they couldn’t get out of the water. 

Apart from this, there is one more reason why pigeons do not spend much time in the water. All major aquatic birds have a water repellent layer over their bodies made from chemicals like lipid and other greasy materials. This keeps the wings dry and allows them to fly at any instant.

But pigeons lack this layer and their feathers absorb water if they spend much time in the water. In case of any threat from the surrounding the pigeons can not fly easily, so they do not spend time in the waters.

Related Read: Do pigeons fly at night?

Can Pigeons Float in Water?

Yes, you may not find Pigeons swimming in the water but pigeons floating in the water on ponds, rivers, and even deep wells is a common thing. Well, they are not perfect floaters but can float for a short duration.

The body structure and their wings help them to float in water. They create a boat-shaped by expanding their wings too wide open and broadening their tail. As a result, the total surface area over the water increases and helps them to float in the water. 

Floating in water helps them to beat the hot summer days as water reduces the body temperature and allows them to relax and enjoy. Pigeons do not remain in the water for longer durations as their wet feathers will not allow them to fly in case of any attack from a predator.

They Love Playing In Water

Pigeons are considered one of the smartest animals globally, and they will get creative to find interesting places to take their baths. Like all birds, pigeons love taking baths and splashing around in the shallow water.

Bathing is important for pigeons, and it’s how they keep their feathers in good condition. All birds require water for drinking and bathing themselves, and pigeons are no different. 

Related Read: Do Birds Take Dirt Baths? | Why Do Birds Roll In Dirt? | How Often Should Birds Bath?

How To Take Care of Your Pet Pigeons In The Water?

If you are having pet pigeons it is important to keep an eye when they are in the water or near it. In the case of baby pigeons, you need to take care of their bath and drinking behavior. While bathing them keep a check on the water temperature, it should have a moderate temperature allowing the bird to relax. Allow them to get dry after every bathing session.

Keep An Eye On Your Pool

Should you have a private swimming pool in your backyard, take special care to ensure that pigeons stay far away from it.

Since they are drawn to pools and any water source for that matter, they may try to make your pool their new hang out where they gather for drinking and bathing. Pigeons will dirty the pool with droppings, or worse

Safety Precautions 

Pools can be a dangerous place for pigeons because though they enjoy the water and may want to float around for a moment, it’s possible if they are unable to get out, they may become tired and drown. Their feathers can easily get too wet and heavy, weighing them down so much that they cannot get back out of the pool on their own. 

According to the Center for Disease Control, if you find a dead pigeon in your pool, it’s vital you clean and disinfect the entire pool properly. All wild animals carry diseases, and thoroughly cleaning the pool is the only way to ensure that swimmers don’t catch an infection from the dead animal after it’s removed.  


Can pigeons swim? The answer is no; they cannot. Many animals, including various species of birds, are natural swimmers, and they are shaped to do so, but these birds are not one of them. They are ingenious animals, thought by some to be one of the smartest birds worldwide, but they are not natural swimmers.

Leave a Comment