One glance at an Egyptian Swift pigeon will tell you that there is something different about this breed as compared to the rest of the fancy pigeons.
They have a distinct appearance that makes them unforgettable. However, unlike all other fancy pigeons, Egyptian Swift pigeons come in two different types (based on their uses) that can seem to appear similar but have their own unique characteristics.
What is an Egyptian Swift pigeon?
Developed over years of selective breeding, Egyptian Swift pigeons are a breed of domesticated fancy pigeons.
They are known to have been developed in the 19th century. However, the specifications of their development were not revealed until the 1980s when a geneticist named Dr. W.F.
Hollander conducted his research, and he found a copy of a journal that explained how this impressive breed was developed by another geneticist named Mekkatube-Duerigen in 1886.
Where are Egyptian Swift pigeons from?
As their name suggests, Egyptian Swift pigeons are native to Egypt. They were initially developed in Egypt, and from there, found their place in the rest of the world. They are still most commonly found in Egypt.
The unique appearance of Egyptian Swift pigeons
The striking feature that makes the appearance of Egyptian Swift pigeons unique is their unusually long flight and tail feathers.
It is the presence of these feathers on their body that make them appear larger than their actual size. Their body is small to medium-sized, but it usually appears larger because of their elongated feathers.
Uses of Egyptian Swift pigeons
Egyptian Swift pigeons are mainly bred for the purpose of flying and for exhibitions. Their elongated flight feathers make these pigeons are excellent at flying and hence, they are commonly bred for the same reason.
Their unique appearance also makes them really eye-catching, which makes them excellent for show purposes.
These two categories of uses are the main ways people use to distinguish between these birds.
Related Read: Do pigeons fly at night?
The two types of Egyptian Swift pigeons
Egyptian Swift pigeons are divided into two categories based on their uses: The ‘Show’ Egyptian Swift pigeons and the ‘Flying’ Egyptian Swift pigeons.
As their names suggest, the Show Egyptian pigeons are commonly used for exhibitions and shows, and the Flying Egyptian Swift pigeons are commonly used for flying.
These two types might look similar, but they have slightly distinct features.
- The Show Egyptian Swift pigeons
The Show Egyptian Swift pigeons have a narrower body with concave backs. They have small heads with short beaks, and their legs are short as well.
Moreover, their bodies are covered with a thick layer of long feathers. However, their legs don’t have any feathers below the hock.
- The Flying Egyptian Swift pigeons
The Flying Egyptian Swift pigeons don’t have bodies as narrow as the Show Egyptian Swift pigeons do. They also have a lesser amount of feathers on their bodies.
The size of their bodies is slightly shorter than the Show Egyptian Swift pigeons. However, their legs are slightly longer in comparison. The size of their heads is also bigger than their counterparts.
A key point of distinction:
While these two types of Egyptian Swift pigeons have a considerable amount of distinct features, the size of their heads is most commonly used to differentiate one from another.
According to the Egyptians, it is the head size and the way the headrests on the neck tell the type of Egyptian Swift more than anything else.
Colors and patterns of feathers on Egyptian Swift pigeons
The feathers on most Egyptian Swift pigeons have a mix of black, gray, and white colors. However, it is not uncommon to find feathers of other colors on some Egyptian Swift pigeons.
While they are commonly seen with a few known patterns on their feathers, some Egyptian Swift pigeons can be found having different patterns on their feathers as well.
Groups found among Egyptian Swift pigeons
Several local groups can be found among the Egyptian Swift pigeons. The pigeons belonging to these categories have similar colors and patterns on their feathers. Following are some of the major groups found among Egyptian Swift pigeons:
|Safi||Looks similar to the general description of Egyptian Swift pigeons, except for the owl-like shape of head and face|
|Otati||Dark gray on the whole body except for the neck, which is usually covered in white/light gray feathers|
|Anbary Asmar||Black/ dark gray feathers on the whole body except the tail, which is covered in white feathers|
|Ahmar Gohzar||Similar to Anbary Asmar, except the whole body is covered in brown/ recessive red-colored feathers|
|Bolk||White-colored feathers cover the entire body except for the tail and face (mainly the area around the eyes and cheeks), which are found in various colors. The tail is also known to have a barred pattern on its feathers.|
|Mesawed||The whole body is covered in black feathers except the tail and flight feathers, which are colored white.|
|Rehani||Feathers on the neck are usually colored slightly yellow/bronze. Feathers on the rest of the body are colored black.|
|Karakandy||Feathers on the tail are white in color. The rest of the body is covered in bluish feathers. Barred and barless patterns are also seen on these birds. They have shiny beaks.|
|Absy||Feathers on the tail are white in color. The rest of the body is covered in black feathers. They also have shiny beaks.|
|Halaby||Feathers on the tail are white in color. The rest of the body is covered in brown/ recessive red feathers. They have thick beaks.|
|Egyptian Absy & Egyptian Halaby||Their features are the same as the rest of the Absy and Halaby groups, except they have shorter faces.|
|Kojook||These come in feathers of various colors. They are also known to look like the African and German owls.|
Characteristics and behavior of Egyptian Swift pigeons
Behavior-wise, Egyptian Swift pigeons are calm birds and prefer to stay in groups. It is fairly easy to train them, especially if they have been trained from birth.
They can be trained to return home or land at a specific place after a flight. These fancy pigeons thrive in warmer climates as compared to colder climates. They can’t handle extreme cold.
Can you keep Egyptian Swift pigeons as pets?
Given their gentle nature and the ease in training them, Egyptian Swift pigeons can definitely be considered good pets.
However, fewer people breed them for this reason. They are majorly bred because of their excellent show and flying abilities.
Tips on breeding Egyptian Swift pigeons
The main aim of breeding Egyptian Swift pigeons is to develop a pigeon that can be used for both flying and exhibition purposes. Hence, many breeders breed Show Egyptian Swift pigeons with Flying Egyptian Swift pigeons.
Although crossbreeding these two different types usually results in a pigeon that flies excellently and can be used for show purposes, it is common for some show qualities to still get compromised.
Traits to Avoid
Because Egyptian Swift pigeons are bred for specific purposes, there are some traits that are considered undesirable because they can affect the flying or show abilities.
The following traits are some of the ones that should be avoided:
- Poor flying ability
- Loose feathers
- Large head
- Long legs
- Frills on feathers
How long do Egyptian Swift pigeons live for?
Being a domesticated fancy pigeon, an average Egyptian Swift pigeon has a lifespan of 10-15 years. However, the longevity of their lifespan depends on the conditions that they are kept in. The better the conditions, the longer it is.
Cost of Egyptian Swift pigeons
Depending on the country that one lives in, the cost of an Egyptian Swift pigeon can range from a couple of hundred dollars to even over a thousand dollars.
The cost also depends on how well the Egyptian Swift pigeon was bred.
What do Egyptian Swift pigeons eat?
It is preferred to keep protein and good fats as focal points while designing the diets of Egyptian Swift pigeons.
The most common foods that are fed to them include seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables, and berries. They should be kept away from chocolates, avocados, seeds of apples, salt, and sugar.
Related Read: How to Care for Pigeons | Pigeon Keeping for Beginners
How to take care of Egyptian Swift pigeons?
Egyptian Swift pigeons should be kept in an area that is well-ventilated and is not too cold. Water should be kept available at all times.
They can get acclimated to living indoors with ease. Once acclimated, they should be allowed to fly in open areas ever so often, so that they can return indoors on their own.
Are Egyptian Swift pigeons rare?
Egyptian Swift pigeons are not categorized as rare birds. While trading has made them available in almost every country, they are most commonly found in Egypt and the UK.
Egyptian Swift pigeons are those fancy pigeons whose abilities are just as valuable as their looks. This is also the reason why they have managed to thrive for close to two centuries.
With a unique appearance as an added bonus, these domesticated pigeons are truly worth all the hype that they seem to always be getting.