One of the most interesting characteristics of city pigeons is that they come in manydifferent colors. In fact, some pigeon fanciers—people who especially like pigeons, or who breed them for racing, homing, or showing purposes—can identify up to 28different color morphs! Most of these color morphs include beautiful shiny neck feathers that reflect different colors like rainbows. This shine is called iridescence. For Project PigeonWatch, we're grouping pigeon colors into the following seven morphs only (we'll use the names that pigeon fanciers use, only fewer of them).
Blue-bar:The color and pattern of the original wild pigeons from Europe, Asia, and Africa is called blue-bar, even though these birds are not really blue. Blue-bars generally have a dark head, neck, and chest with some iridescence; a light-gray breast and belly; a black band at the end of the tail; and two black stripes or bars on each wing.
Red-bar: Some pigeons have the same basic pattern as blue-bars but the black areas are replaced by a rusty-red or brown color. These birds are called red-bars or mealy.
Checker: If a pigeon has a checker pattern on its wings it is called a checker. Checkers can range from very light gray with only a few black checks, to very dark with only a little light-gray still showing. Some checkers have wing-bars; some do not.
Red: When most or all of a pigeon’s body and wings are rusty-red or brown, it is simply called a red.
Spread: If a bird is totally black or dark gray, it is called a spread. To remember this term, it helps to think that the dark color has spread over the bird's entire body.
Pied: Sometimes pigeons of any color have white patches, usually on the head or wing feathers. These are called pieds. Pied birds come in two forms. One type looks like it has been splashed with white. The other type has white only on the primary wing feathers. Sometimes the white flight feathers are hard to see when the bird is on the ground, but, when the bird flies, the white is obvious. Some birds have both splashes and white flight