Nun Pigeon: Everything about it | Breeding | Types & Varieties | Care & Maintenance

There are so many pigeons that look the same, but the nun pigeon looks different with magnificent colors. It is primarily a white breed, with a hood feather that gives its name.

This magnificent bird is the oldest breed and has ancestral ties to helmet pigeons.

What is a nun pigeon?

Nun pigeons are a part of fancy pigeons, and they were bred by selective breeding over several years. The nun pigeon was used to keep in the exhibition because of its appearance.

Nun pigeon also goes by Dutch shell pigeon, a common name in England and UK. 

How to Identify?

Identification is pretty simple. We can identify it by its color.

They have a blackhead, and the rest of the body is white, but usually, in a nun pigeon, they don’t have feathers in their feet, and their beak is generally straight.

Where are nun pigeons from?

It is one ancient breed, but the exact origins are unknown.

The breeding of this pigeon happened around the 1800s in the UK. They are all decedents of a rock pigeon.

What are nun pigeons good for?

This is a fancy pigeon breed, and people used to breed them for exhibitions, pigeon shows, and livestock exhibits.

Earlier, they used to include flying tumbler pigeons as fancy pigeons, but nowadays, they only have ornamental and exhibition breeds.

Nun pigeon flying:

Nun pigeon flies like any other pigeon bird, but some have a distinctive flying pattern that doesn’t last long.

Can nun pigeon fly?

This breed has been popular for flying in western Europe in the past couple of centuries.

Nun pigeons are breeds that fly in high altitudes with other types of species. Nowadays, they are only kept for exhibition in the US.

Related Read: Do pigeons fly at night?

How to identify male and female nun pigeons?

Identifying male and female pigeons is tricky, and most experienced breeders can also get fooled by it, and there is no 100% accurate way for it.100% accurate method for identifying the gender would be a DNA test. 

Appearance and Behavior:

There are some basic rules with which we can identify gender by appearance.

A male would have a slightly bigger body than the female, the head of the male pigeon would be round. On the other hand, the female pigeons will have a flat head around their eyes.

Male nun pigeons are louder and more boisterous than females. They also preen more, head bobbing and Puffing up their chest feathers.

What types and varieties of nun pigeons are available?

There are different varieties in nun pigeons. They are listed below

German nun pigeons:

These are the type of nun pigeons that originated in Germany. This breed was bred by German breeders, a descendent of rock pigeons in Columbia. 

This german pigeon is famous in Russia, and they are called cross nuns in Russia because of their colored tail and colored primary wings, which resemble a cross while flying.

Their colored wing feather is light red, coffee brown, light blue, and even silver. Their eyes are of medium size, and they have dark pupils.

They are called german nun pigeons because german pigeon breeders bred this easy keep bird and this specific type of fancy bird in the 17th century in Germany. 

English nun pigeon:

These European pigeons are the oldest breed with an ancestry of helmets. British people in the 1600s developed this breed.

We’ll see the size of an English nun pigeon. The height of an adult cock nun pigeon would be 242mm from the base of the foot to the top of the head, and an adult hen nun pigeon would be 250mm from front of the chest to the tip of their nail.

Eye ceres would be small, narrow, and will match the color of the beak.

There are different colors available, as mentioned above. Still, generally, the colors of the feathers in the significant portion must extend well down to the root, deep, lustrous, and of even shade.

Black nun pigeon:

This pigeon is given the name because of its hood covering the back of the head and neck.

They are black or yellow-headed nun pigeons; only their head, tail, and flight feathers will be colored in black. They weigh around 370 grams.

These birds are friendly and usually do well interacting with other pigeons.

Silver nun pigeon:

This silver nun pigeon is one of the rarest breeds and a fancy pigeon breed. They have a silver head, tails, and flight feathers apart from color; their characteristics are the same as other nun pigeons.

How to breed nun pigeons?

Firstly you need a good pair of nun pigeons. If you are trying to get a top-quality bird, get a hen rather than another way round.

Inbreeding is a degree line of breeding. Inbreeding pairs closely related birds, e.g., parent and the offspring or half brother and sister.

Inbreeding should be done for healthy birds and no health defects.

First season breeding is pretty straightforward, but the problems start from the second season. So compare the young breed of nun pigeons to their parents.

Pick out a healthy hen and cock, pair them back to their parents, and then pair the young breed of these pigeons.

The British nun club was founded in the late 1800s. Previously it was named as nun club, but the name eventually changed. At present, they have 30 members.

They say that black and brown nuns are famous for their color contrast, but different colors will be bred shortly.

The BNC holds 21 trophies and cups for displaying the best nun pigeons.  

Are they good pets?

Nun pigeons make good pets, after all. They are highly intelligent, and they have a calm temperament around humans.

They bond with humans, and taming them is easy with treats. They will be a faithful and loyal companion to humans.

They also have basic sense emotions, including love, hate, fear, and gear.

They are friendly birds, but you need to act carefully around them because they are predators, and they get spooked easily.

How do you raise and take care of nun pigeons?

For proper care, you need to provide a good diet. 

Avoid a diet that includes only seeds as it can cause deficiency of many other nutrients instead provide them with good pellets. Please provide them with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Fresh, clean water is also essential, and also clean your pigeon’s eating container every day otherwise it can cause bacteria to build up.

If your pair of nun pigeons lay eggs and the chick is out of the egg. Proper caring is a must for the baby pigeon.

Related Read: What do Baby Pigeons Eat?

The parents can produce milk, and the crop is a part of their digestive system. The food provided by parents is healthier for your baby pigeon.

If the parents are not feeding correctly, you can find a formula for baby birds commercially. You can feed this to your baby pigeon.

Sick pigeons should be separated from healthy birds. Otherwise, all the birds could get infected, and if a bird is sick, visit an avian vet.

Nun pigeon food:

There are varieties of food you can feed a nun pigeon. It consists of seeds, pellets, fruits, and vegetables.

What do nun pigeons eat?

A proper diet is essential for your bird’s health, and you should know the nutritional needs of the nun pigeon and consult an avian vet for a good diet.

They eat various grains, seeds, berries, fruits, greens, and occasionally some insects. 

Traditionally nun pigeons were fed only seeds. The seed mix should contain at least 2-3 types of sources. But only seeds can cause calcium deficiency and can also cause vitamin A deficiency.

Switch the bird’s diet to pellets, and it is developed to meet all bird’s nutritional needs. There are different shapes available in pellets; Nun pigeon’s beak is small, so choose small size pellets for them.

Vegetables like celery and lettuce, which have high water content, should be fed. Avocado is toxic to birds.

Freshwater should be available all the time for your birds, as mentioned above.

Nun pigeon lifespan

Did you know pigeons can live up to 20 years? With proper care, pigeons can live up to 20 years or more.

How long does nun pigeon live?

The average life span is six years, but the pigeons in captivity can live up to 25 years.

How many eggs do nun pigeons lay?

If you want to breed your bird, it’s best to know how many eggs they lay? They can lay 2-3 eggs at a time.

They lay eggs 10-15 days after mating. Typically the eggs are laid in the early evening. About 44 hours later, the female will lay a second egg.

How much does a nun pigeon cost?

A nun pigeon can cost from 50 dollars and go up to several dollars, and it can also cost out of this range based on its breeding and competition history


Nun pigeon is a unique breed, its appearance is spectacular, and they have various color variations.

There are several other breeds also, such as German English nun pigeons. They also make good pets, and taking proper care could increase their lifespan.

By proper breeding, you can have variation in their colors too.