Why Do Pigeons Coo?

Pigeons coo as a form of communication. It is usually either a mating call or a warning to intruders.

Chatty Pigeons

We’ve all seen pigeons hanging around cities, perched on statues and monuments, waddling around parks, and roosting in sheltered spots like balconies or garages.

Anyone who paid attention will notice that they usually gather in bunches. Pigeons are very social animals.

It might also surprise you to learn that pigeons are among the most intelligent birds. They have outstanding memories and studies have shown that they can even recognize the letters of the alphabet. This is why they have been used for generations as homing or messenger birds. 

Given all these facts, it makes perfect sense that pigeons are great communicators. Like humans and other animals, they have developed their very own language. 

What Do Pigeons Talk About?

Like most other animals, the main purpose of their communication is for mating or for defending their territory. 


The soft, gentle coo-coo-roo that pigeons make is a sweet sound that is used mainly by the males to attract a mate. In fact, it is such a soothing sound that the word ‘cooing’ has become synonymous with pillow talk and the sounds human lovers make when they’re alone.

Both males and females will sing, but male pigeons will coo more frequently and for prolonged periods, often as they strut about, fanning their feathers. Though pigeons in cities often have a bad reputation for being dirty, it’s quite pleasant to listen to this lovers’ song. 

Some people believe that it’s not only sung for mating but just to show off when the pigeon is in a happy mood, like a purring cat. Many people have pointed out the similarity between the two sounds. 


Pigeons also make noise when they are threatened, though this resembles a grunt more than the peaceful cooing of the lovers’ song. They may grunt to ward off an intruder or to sound the alarm when a predator is approaching. 

When someone or some animal ventures too close to a pigeon’s nest, the female will become frightened and make all sorts of grunting noises, flapping her wings. Like any mother, she will guard her brood with her life. 


Young pigeons have their own kinds of calls. Before they are able to make the full range of cooing and grunts, they can hiss and snap their beaks.

No one is sure if they make these sounds because they are scared by a predator, if they are having fun or if they are meant to indicate hunger to their parents.

What does it mean when a pigeon coo at you?

Pigeons coo for plenty of reasons. They have a need to defend their territory/nest from predators or human trespassers.

Humans are sometimes known to tamper with a pigeon’s nest or babies. This of course is not something the pigeons like.

A mother or father pigeon seeing you approach its nest will most likely coo or grunt at you. This is them telling you to stay away from the nest. 

A pet pigeon or one in your care may also coo at you if it’s hungry or thirsty. This is kind of like a small child crying for attention when it is hungry or thirsty. Pigeons may also coo to grab your attention.

Do pigeons grunt?

Pigeons only make a grunting noise when they are in distress. This noise from the birds is repetitive – so it’s sure to get your attention.

If you hear your pet pigeon grunting, make sure you go and check why they are grunting. Pigeons grunt when they are in severe pain or really scared of something.

However, your pet pigeon might seem completely safe and still be making this noise. In such a situation, it is important to understand that something is alarming your pet pigeon. It could be the sight of a dog, cat, or potential predator around the pigeon or the presence of something new and unfamiliar..

If there are no carnivorous pets in your home but you still hear your pet pigeon grunt, check to see if the bird is somehow stuck somewhere in its coop or if it is sick or injured.

If you can’t find anything at all, take the bird to a vet who may be able to help you.

Can pigeons scream?

Some birds, like parrots, scream when they are scared, in danger, bored or jealous.

However, pigeons do not scream. Instead, they grunt loudly to alert others of danger. These grunts could also mean pain or discomfort.

The grunt pigeons make when they are in danger are sometimes mistaken for screams when they are especially loud. 

How to get rid of noisy pigeons?

With their constant vocalization and the mess they leave behind, you may want to get rid of pigeons around your house so you can enjoy some peace.

Here are some simple ways you can keep pigeons away without causing them any harm – 

  • Remove sources of food – Pigeons breed very frequently and hence are always looking for food. If you remove any sources of food around the area, you will see that these pigeons will start to leave. 
  • Make the surroundings uncomfortable for them – You can do this by using a pigeon net so they won’t have space to perch. You can also add spikes on ledges and on rooftops so the birds don’t prefer to sit there.
  • Spray them with water – Noone likes to get drenched! If you do this whenever the pigeons show up, they will come to expect it and will eventually stop returning to the place. 
  • Call pest control – If nothing works, you can call pest control and they will be able to professionally and efficiently deal with the pesky birds.

Final Thoughts

Pigeons are more interesting than many people give them credit for. They have a complex social life. Their coos are a form of emotional expression, a way to pursue their mates and signal their love.

The sound of a cooing pigeon is unmistakable. It’s a gentle and delicate model for lovers everywhere.

Next time you wander around your city, pay attention to these often misunderstood creatures who are at their happiest being affectionate with a loved one. 

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