Have you ever wondered why king pigeons are called king pigeons? Are they the greatest among all pigeon breeds? and how this breed was developed. This article explains all of it.
King pigeons are among the most common & largest pigeon breeds in the world. Their chicken-like appearance and heavy weight make them unique. A pure king pigeon has a short tail, slightly tilted upward, the head is a bit heavier & the overall body looks compact.
They are called king pigeons for their heavy look. However, they are not the greatest breed of pigeons; that is Victoria Crowned pigeon.
King pigeons were first developed for utility purposes to consume their meat. However, with time, given their unique body structure and beauty, many pigeon breeders started working on this breed and developed a show king; for exhibition purposes.
Even though today king pigeons are one of the most popular fancy pigeon breeds they are still consumed for meat purposes in some parts of China, Africa, America, and Europe. 
|Breed Name||King Pigeon|
|Breed Speciality||Heavy weight & compact body|
|Leg Ring Size (mm)||10|
|Life Span (years)||8|
|Heavyweight & compact body||Low|
|Pair Price in USA (USD)||300|
|Pair Price in India (USD)||Heavyweight & compact body|
The Origin & Development of King Pigeons
King pigeons originated in the USA in the 1890s. Like most fancy pigeon breeds, king pigeons were developed through selective cross-breeding between Runt, Maltese, Mondain, and Homer pigeons. 
Some sources claim, the Duchess pigeon was used (instead of the Mondain pigeon) but actually, it was the Italian variant of the Mondain pigeon, actually called Dutch or Deutsch but later misspelled in America as Duchess pigeon.
Each of these breeds was used to develop a specific characteristic in King pigeons. For example:
- Runt Pigeon: It is one of the largest pigeon breeds. It helped develop the huge structure.
- Maltese Pigeon: It has a compact body, the gap between the head and tail is short and the tail is titled upward. It helped develop the same compactness and style in the structure.
- Mondain Pigeon: It has a heavyweight, beautiful stance, and grace. It helped develop the same grace and heaviness in structure.
- Homer Pigeon: It is known for alertness. It helped develop alertness in personality.
Can King Pigeons Fly?
King pigeons can fly but very little. Their structure, weight, and rail do not support long flights especially if it weights a lot. This is why king pigeons usually prefer staying on the ground rather than sitting at heights or flying around the loft.
Because of their limited ability to fly, king pigeons also require more care and safety from predators. In events of attacks, they cannot fly off to safety so they must be kept in enclosures.
Are King Pigeons Rare?
King pigeons are not rare, in fact, they are one of the most commonly available fancy pigeon breeds, especially in the USA, Pakistan, and India. However, show king pigeons are not commonly available and they can very expensive.
How Much Does a King Pigeon Cost?
Utility king pigeons are cheap they cost $15-20 per pair but show king pigeons can cost up to $300-400 per pair in the USA. They are less costly in Pakistan and India; a moderate show king pigeon pair costs around $40-50.
Even though king pigeons have muscular bodies and sturdy looks, they are easy to tame. They turn out to be a great addition to your loft.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do king pigeons eat?
King pigeons eat seeds and grains like sunflower seeds, maize, wheat, and corn. Besides these, they eat a variety of other foods, read this article on Pigeon Diet for more details.
At what age king pigeons start breeding?
Generally, king pigeons mature at the age of 6 months. Some pairs start breeding as soon as they mature while others breed at the age of 1 year.
Where can I buy king pigeons in the USA?
You can buy king pigeons for independent breeders and clubs in the USA. Read this article on Where to Buy Fancy Pigeons for more details.
How to take care of king pigeons?
King pigeons cannot fly much so they need more care. They must be provided perches and nest at low heights. Apart from these, they need the same care as other pigeons. Read this article on How to Take Care of Pigeons for more details.
Bilal is a freelance writer and a content creator. He has been in the pigeon hobby for over 15 years. Over the years, he has worked on various fancy pigeon breeds and explored their history.