What Color Eyes Do Pigeons Have | Eye Colors For Different Pigeons?

Over centuries, pigeon breeders have used their experience and skill to produce unique pigeon breeds that focus on different beak shapes, feathers, and plumage colors. As per the research done, different genes affect the eye and feather colors. 

Intro Video - Backtobirds
Intro Video - Backtobirds

When it comes to eyes, pigeons have excellent eyesight and hearing. Comparing these senses to humans, it can be said that they have better optical mechanisms with its eye weighting half their brain’s weight, while the human’s eyes are 1/50th of the brain weight. Thus, pigeons’ visual field is 340 degrees. 

Visual abilities of pigeons

Like most birds, pigeons have high cone density that helps to track a moving object without its head and eyes displacing much. Having both eyes on the sides of the head ensures a wider field of vision. While flying at a high speed, the pigeon can process the visual information faster.

Most birds have flatter eyeballs as compared to humans/mammals, so they need to swivel their heads more but pigeons have dual visual systems- frontal and lateral with different properties.

Additionally, pigeons can see colors just like humans do but they have the additional ability to see UV light. They can detect ultraviolet radiation from the sun which helps them to navigate better.

Like most birds, pigeons have more light receptors in their retina so they are able to process five channels of color information. However, the only aspect is that pigeons cannot see well during the night while they can see stars during the day.

Related Read: Do pigeons fly at night?

Related Read: Why do Pigeons Bob their Heads?

What Color Eyes Do Pigeons Have?

Pigeons are able to produce a minimum of 2 pigments in their eyes- white and orange. Eye color is the pigment because variations in pigment can produce a number of eye colors ranging from light to dark.

Pearl and orange eye pigments can be seen in the outer iris of the pigeon’s eyes. The orange pigment is called Pteridine while the while pigment is called guanidines which are the same as in a fish. It gives fish the shiny look.

However, these pigments are opaque and prevent the light from getting through the iris. In pigeons, there are shades of blue, green, and even hues of black, if there is no melanin present in the iris.

White and Orange eyes

Orange or yellow as it is referred to depends upon the number of blood vessels found in the eyes. There are no pigments such as red within the pigeon’s eyes. Eye redness comes from the density of blood vessels that is prominently located on the iris surface. As the density varies, so does the red coloration of the iris.

The white pigmentation is opaque and that is why the black pigmentation in the inner eye is not visible.

Pink eyes

In albino pigeons, most of them have pink eyes. As the pigeons are afflicted by albinism, the pigments are completely eliminated in the body and that affects the eyes too. As there are no pigments, the reflection of the light is visible through blood tissues that give a visual effect of pink color.

Bull eyes

Scientifically, this is the piebald condition wherein there are two or more mutations. Piebald is usually the solid white patch surrounded by color or vice-versa. It is caused by the lack of pigment in the white areas, so most of the pigeons that have bull eyes have a pied white head. As the iris is transparent, the inner black shines through.

Odd eyes

This is when both eyes are of different colors. Usually seen in Birmingham Rollers, one is Bull eye and the other is either white or orange. This is usually in pigeons with pied mutations, odd eyes are common. Genetic mutations are the reason behind the uniquely colored dark brown eyes, green-violet eyes.

Cracked eyes

In pigeons with cracked eyes, the yellow or orange pigments in the eyes appear along with the black.

It can be due to the pigment cell migration or it did not and due to chimera. This is seen commonly in pigeon breeds especially, pencil Rollers. Thus, any pigeon that has white feathers next to the eyes usually has lacked pigment cells in the iris or just a few of the pigment cells in the iris.

If there are no pigment cells in the iris, then the black pigment can be seen.

False Pearl Eyes

Oftentimes, brown mutations affect the white ‘pearl eye’ and there is a slight coloration that is known as False pearl eye. Instead of the inner black eyes, these pigeons have brown eyes.

Diluted Pink Eye

This is not an albino bird; pink eye dilution is seen in the wild-type of pigeons. However, the albino gene causes the eye color to turn pink while otherwise, it would be red. That is why genetic mutations lead to gradient eye colors.

Related Read: Pigeon Breeding Techniques | How to Breed Pigeons faster – Detailed Guide:

In Bull Eyes, Is the Orange or Pearl Eye Dominant?

The bull eye is not exactly a color but a term when melanin is outside the iris or is completely missing. The Bull eyes are pigmented due to the same modifiers. Thus, the dominance of orange or pearl eyes cannot be determined.

Is Performance Of Pigeons Affected By The Colour Of Eyes?

For show pigeons, the color of eyes is important as they are judged on the color of eyes among other aspects. Though some breeders prefer pearl eyes, light-colored feathers, and white beaks, the performing breeds are not accepted to be mismarked.

Scientifically, the correlation between performance and intelligence is not related to eye colors.


Thus, it can be seen that due to varied genetic mutations and levels of pigmentation, the pigeon eye colors vary.

However, though some breeders are of the view that eye color affects the intelligence or the performance of the varied breeds, scientifically, there is no proof.

Show pigeons are bred for the color of eyes, feathers, beaks, and markings and are judged accordingly.

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