Alleles or Allelomorphs: Alternative forms of the same gene which influence the same developmental process or processes, but in different ways.

Back-cross: the offspring of the cross of an F1 hybrid to either of the parental types.

Biology: The science which treats of life and living organisms.

Breed: n. a group of domestic animals controlled by man to prevent mixture with dissimilar groups and consequent loss of distinctive traits. In dogs, a breed is the largest group and is composed of more than one variety.

Criss-cross inheritance: A mode of transmission in which characters of one parent are passed to progeny ( ) of the opposite sex.

Dihybrids: The progeny from parents which differed in two Mendelian traits.

Embryology: The science which treats of the prenatal development of the organism.

F1: The first generation offspring ( ) of a given mating. The F2 (2nd generation) is produced by intercrossing the F1.

Gene: The basic unit of heredity ( ), believed to be the fundamental factor of inherited characteristic.

Genetics: The branch of biology which deals with heredity, variation, sex determination, and related phenomena ( ).

Heredity: The tendency of an organism to reproduce itself.

Homozygous: Pure or true breeding for given factor. Containing two different alleles of the same gene. A heterozygote produces two kinds of germ cell with respect to that gene.

Hybrid: 1- The offspring of two parents of unlike genetic makeup.2- A heterozygote for one or more genes.

Inbreeding: The mating together of closely related animals.

Line breeding: The mating together of animals somewhat related, but less closely related than in inbreeding.

Monohybrid: The progeny from two parents which differed genetically in respect to a single allelic pair.

Orgasm: The climax of the sexual act.

Out breeding: The mating together of unrelated animals.

Pedigree: A record of the ancestry ( ) or line of descent.

Polyhybrid: The progeny from parents which differed in several or many Mendelian characters.

Species: A group of animals or plants, usually making up a sub-division next smaller than a genus, having certain characteristics which distinguish it from any other group and which are usually inherited. The common criterion ( ) for a species is that its members are interfertile.

Strain: A more or less numerous family of the same breed, the members of which are more or less interrelated one to another and which exhibit a uniformity of type which distinguishes them from members of other strains.

Trihybrid: A hybrid of which the parents differed in respect to three characters.

Unisexual: Of one sex, of or pertaining to plants or animals having organs of but one sex.

Variety: A group of animals, usually domesticated, with distinguishing traits as opposed to other varieties; larger than a strain but smaller than a breed.

X-Chromosome: One of the two kinds of the sex chromosomes of which, in the higher animals, the female cell posses two, the male cell but one ,plus a Y-chromosome.

Y-Chromosome: The sex chromosome which is found only in the male cells of the higher animals and determines maleness in the zygote of which it is a part.

Zoology: The branch of biology which deals of animals.

Zygote: The cell and the resultant organism ( ) which results from the union of the ovum (The functional reproductive cell produced by the female; an egg )a spermatozoon (The male gamete ( ); a single sperm.


Two Outstanding Types of Tipplers:

1- Sheffield

2- Macclesfield.

Timer: which person note the time of pigeon (munsuf).

Blood line: descent, pedigree, esp. as transmitting characteristics in an animal.

Batch: ( ) A number of things of persons forming a group or dealt with together.

Clutch: ( ) A set of eggs for hatching, a brood chickens.

Youngster: A young bird especially male.

Kit: Three or more pigeons flying together.

Nestling: A bird that is too young to leave its nest.

Airborne: In the air after take off. ( )

Relief man: Supplied by some flyer who furnished original timer, must arrive before the timer leaves.

Raking: Tipplers usually circle about high above the loft, climbing at times quite high but generally keeping the loft in sight. However, occasionally the fly in a manner similar to that Racing Homer and race off, ahead a tail wind for instance, then return to the neighborhood only to fly off in another direction. This is the act on the fancy calls “rakingâ€ÂÂ.

Moult: Shed ( ) feathers, hair, a shell skin, etc. in the process of renewing plumage, acquiring a new growth, etc.

Droppers: The “brake†is usually a flashy white or white-marked bird of a non-flying breed used as a Dropper. By non-flying is meant that they bear incapable of sustained flight, but of course they can get off the ground and perhaps take a few swings around the loft. Two very popular breeds used as Droppers are Fantails and Nuns. Although any breed except the Tippler may be used.

*The tippler is the least acrobatic of the three breeds developed at about the same time by the English fanciers of the flying pigeons. These sporting breeds were the Roller, the Tumbler, and the Tippler.

Handicap: (a) A disadvantage imposed on a superior competitor in order to make the chance, more equal. (b) A race or contest in which this is imposed.

Frank Mosca

Here, I've simply tried to clarify a few pigeon terms that site visitors have e-mailed to ask me about. I'll add others as needed.

A.O.C. - a show term meaning Any Other Color and normally used to refer to birds other than standard color in the breed under discussion.
Bar or Barring - the two bands which cross the wings toward the rear of the shield. Depending on the color of these bars, the birds are called black barred, brown barred or red barred. If a bird happens to carry Toy Stencil, the pigment in the bar area is normally washed out and the bird is known as white-bar. There is also a TAIL BAR which is approximately 1 cm. from the end of the tail. In blues, the tail bar is black. In ash-red, it's an ashy white; in browns, it's brown.
Cere -
(Beak cere) the fleshy part above the nares on the upper bill. In some breeds, Carrier and Barb, for ex., this cere is enormous, in others, such as the Color Pigeon group, it is as small as in the wild species.
(Eye cere) Bare skin around the eyelid.
Checker/Check/Chequer - the triangular blotches of color across the lighter wing shield. Depending on the base color of the bird, the pigeon is known as a blue check, red check, etc. If Toy Stencil (cf.) is also present, a checkered pigeon may be known as a "spangled" or "white check".
Cock - a male pigeon
Driving - the behavior of the cock bird for the few days before his hen lays her first egg of the nesting cycle. He forces her away from the proximity of other cocks and in a loft situation often forces her back to the nesting site.
Hen - a female pigeon
Incubation Period - in most cases, 18 days from date of laying of the second egg. However, depending on ambient temperature and how tightly the parents sit the nest, this may vary up to two days either way.
Grouse Legged - having small feathers down the legs (tarsi) and all toes. Some American breeders have suggested this is incorrect nomenclature since they look in bird books and say no grouse listed has such feathering. However, they neglect to take into account that the term was originally a British one and there the word grouse is used for the birds we, in the States, call ptarmigan (Lagopus sp.). Those birds (grouse) are feathered on the feet and toes EXACTLY as the pigeons are, hence the term. (cf. muff & slippered)
Keel - the breastbone
Milk - The cottage-cheese looking crop substance produced by both cock and hen to feed the young from hatch till about ten days. Its production is stimulated by prolactin and it was from pigeons and doves that this chemical (which also stimulates mammalian milk production) was first identified.
Muffs - Large feathers completely covering the legs (tarsi) and the toes. Some of these feathers can be up to six inches (15.3 cm) or more long. (cg. grouse legged & slippered)
Primaries - The first ten large flight feathers of the pigeon. They are counted from inside out, so that if you spread a bird's wing while its head is toward you, the feather farthest toward the outside is primary flight number ten. (cf.: Secondaries)
Old Bird - A bird from its second year of life on. Birds are considered old as of Jan. 1 or the second year following their birth, no matter what month that birth was. (Cf. Yearling & Young Bird)
Rolling - a continuous downward performance of backward somersaulting in flight - in the U.S. almost invariably applied to the performances of the Birmingham Roller. There are other breeds which roll in a different manner, but these are still rare here. (Cf. tumbler)
Secondaries - The inner flight feathers of the wing which provide lift. Few fanciers, if any, follow the ornithological nominclature that separates the tertiary feathers from the secondary ones.
Slippered - Short feathers covering the legs (tarsi) and the middle toe only. About the only slippered breeds are the English and Pigmy Pouters. (cf. muff & grouse legged)
Squab - a young pigeon still in the nest. Usage reserved by fanciers for one that is to be used for food at the table.
Squeaker - a young pigeon still in the nest.
Standard - A written outline accepted by club members that defines the physical characteristics of the breed of pigeon under discussion. Normally, a standard is written in such a way that no bird presently alive will achieve perfection. A standard is, therefore, actually the outline of a theoretically "perfect" pigeon that each breeder strives to achieve in his own loft.
Tumbler - a bird that somersaults in flight. There are various methods of tumbling depending on breed. Normally, the term is used for those birds that do only a few somersaults, while the term rolling is reserved for birds that do continuous somersaults that blur into a ball-like look. Some tumbler breeds bred for mainly for show purposes have lost the ability to somersault. (Cf. roller)
Wattle - See beak cere.
Yearling - A bird in its second year of life. This is defined as January 1st of the next year. Thus, if a bird is hatched and banded with its year of birth band on Dec. 7, it will still be considered as a yearling for purposes of racing or show come January 1 of the next year. Some breeds do not use the yearling terminology and consider all birds simply Old Birds from the second year on.
Young Bird - a bird in the year of its birth.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #
Select the first letter of the word from the list above to jump to appropriate section of the glossary. If the term you are looking for starts with a digit or symbol, choose the '#' link.


- A -
Airline Distance:

The exact distance calculated in miles or kilometers from a race station to the loft on the property of the flyer involved.
Nine hollow areas within the pigeon's body which contain air.

Apple head:

The back portion of the pigeons head.

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- B -

A seamless band made usually of metal, plastic which consists of numbers and letters as identification of the organization issuing the band and the pigeon.


A white, powder-like material found in the feathers of pigeons.

Blue bar:

One of the major colors. Determined by a dark bluish band across the gray-blue body of a pigeon.

Blue check:

Perhaps the most common color. This is a gray mottled body with darker feathers, hence the name Blue Check.

Back skull

The back portion of the pigeons head.


The pattern of scales on the feet and legs.


A pigeon that carries a band on it's leg is called "banded"


The colored bar located at the base of the tail.

Barren hen:

A hen that cannot lay eggs.


The two or three bands of color which are located at the back part of the wing.

Bastard flight:

A small flight like feather that is found at the joint of the wing butt.

Beak angle:

Angle of the beak in relation to the head.


A pigeon with excess flesh and feathers directly under the lower beak is said to "have a beard"


A color pattern of the front part of the neck.


A process in courtship ( pigeon kissing )


Broad and short of body; also called "apple bodied" or "cobby".

Bolting eye:

A very prominent eye.


Crop area of the body; also includes the front muscles.


A pigeon wide in the chest is said to be "broad"

Broked eye:

Irises of two colors.


Sitting on eggs.


A very dark colored eye.

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- C -

A clock is a pigeon timer used during a race. Upon arrival at the loft in a race, the bird is caught by the fancier and the countermark is removed and placed in the clock. The time of arrival is thus recorded. While there are many varieties of clocks, including the new electronic recording system, the purpose of all of them is to accurately determine and record the exact time of arrival.


A rubber band with a number. This band is put on a race bird's leg prior to shipping to a race. On race day, when the bird arrives home, the countermark is removed and is placed in the clock. The new electronic system use a read/write chip that is attached by means of a plastic band, that contains the countermark number.


A mixture of small grains used as a treat.


Flesh surrounding the eye.


A color pattern of the wing.


The puffy areas directly below the eyes.


The name given to the set of eggs laid.


Birds used in bringing down race birds.


The description given to a pigeon that is light in weight and in race condition.


The small feathers that cover the blights and thus protect them from the elements.

Crop or craw:

A fleshy pocket, on the neck, for storing feed.


Reversed feathers on the back of the head, as in the Satinette.

Crooked keel:

A crooked breast-bone.


The top of the pigeons head.


To eliminate unwanted pigeons.

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- D -

A bird that is deep or large in the breast-bone.


Yellowish covering found on newly hatched pigeons.


After mating and being together in nest building activity, the cock will begin to chase and peck the hen until she gets into the nest box. This action is called "driving" and is intended to force the hen into laying.


During a pigeon race, birds will usually not arrive at the loft at the same time. Instead, they will come in groups, The first " drop " would be that group of pigeons that came home to the loft in the first grouping.

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- E -

A hen that is unable to lay a completely formed egg.


A theory that connects different types of eyes to racing and breeding ability.

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- F -

This is the name given to a person who has an interest in pigeons. The sport of racing pigeons is often referred to as the "fancy" and its members as "fanciers."


The front part of the pigeons head, from the eye forward.


Forcing pigeons to fly for a certain length of time; It usually involves keeping them on the wing by the use of a pole and flag.

Flight cage:

A metal or wooden framed cage that fits on the landing board, used to break in youngsters or training them to trap prior to actual release from the loft.


The 20 long feathers on the wing.


A pigeon that spends much time floating in the air instead of flying hard.


Condition used in describing race birds.

Fret marks:

Any mark or deformity on the feathers.


Feathers on the front of the neck that form a frill-like pattern.

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- G -

Size of a pigeons mouth opening.


Circumference of the pigeons body.


Finely ground-up natural materials of pumice, oyster shell, brick and other materials used by pigeons for digestion.


Refers to the color of a pigeon which is essentially a cream color with gray flecks.


The fleshy fold under the beak-same as in bearded.

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- H -

The brightly colored neck feathers.

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- I -

Breeding of closely related pigeons.

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- J -

The part of the wattle on the lower beak.

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- K -

The pigeons breast-bone.



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- L -
Late Hatch:

Name given to third or fourth hatches.


The home of a pigeon. It may be extensive, fancy and expensive, or a mere shelter or crate. For the pigeon, it is home.

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- M -

Beak or bill.


This is a color of pigeons, usually red or reddish-white.


Pigeons, go through a full feather molt at least once each year. The term "molt" is used to describe this phenomenon.

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- N -

Poorly feathered bird.

Natural system:

Flying birds that are kept paired; sitting on eggs or rearing youngsters.


Term used when a strain or family of pigeons cross well and produce winners.

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- O -
Old Bird:

An old bird is any bird banded in a year previous to the current year.

Over Fly:

Pigeon flyers don't always agree whether it is better to be closer to the race station, i.e. the closest loft to the place of release of the birds, or further away. "over-fly" is a term used to designate a distance beyond the first loft to other lofts flying in the same race.

Open Loft:

Refers to the times when a fancier will allow his birds to come in and go out of the loft at will. Open lofts are often a nuisance to neighbors and are not good for the health or security of your birds. wise fanciers give open loft only on special occasions.

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- P -

The muscles lying on both sides of the keel.


Refers to one of many different types of places that pigeons use for roosting.


Color of the iris.

Pigeon's Milk:

Refers to a dense, watery, milk-like fluid which is passed from the parents to the young birds upon their first hatching, and continues for five to eight days. It is a soft easily digestible food.


Refers to flecks of white around the head or eyes of a bird. It would be described as a blue bar "pied" for example.


Normally, pigeons used as foster parents are called "pumpers".


Name given to feathers that have not yet broken through the shaft.


If the area between the eye and wattle is narrow, it is said that the pigeon's face is " pinched ".


The chipping of the egg during hatching,

Pot eggs:

Wooden or glass eggs used to replace real eggs when hatching is undesirable. They are used a great deal in old bird flying.


To trim or dress the feathers with the beak.

Primary flights:

The 10 large outer wing flights.


Pigeons unable to be released because they do not stay at your loft.


Feeding of youngsters by the parents.

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- Q -
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- R -

A process in courtship when the hen is thoroughly aroused and is eager to tread with the cock.


When young pigeons are first settled to their loft, they stay fairly close, or fly in somewhat tight circles around the loft area. Later, when they are stronger of wing and more secure, they fly go further distances, and sometimes leave the area of the loft for periods of time. This act is called "roaming," "tripping," "ranging," and "travelling."


A youngster that did not develop properly.

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- S -

The dead skin on the body which surrounds the breast-bone.

Secondary flights:

The 10 smaller flights, closest to the body.


When the muscles along the breast-bone are not very staple and the body gives the feeling of sharpness, this is called being "shallow".


This term is used to discribe healthy feathers.


Any colored pigeon that has areas of white splashed about the head or body.

Split tail:

Tail with a gap in the middle.


A young pigeon from 1 to 30 days of age.


A young pigeon just learning to eat by itself.

Stall trap:

A trap designed so thta only one pigeon may enter the loft at a time; moreover, it has a locking device that keeps the bird in the stall until the countermark is removed.


Feathers on the legs or feet.

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- T -

see clock.

A color-pattern or type that does not look like either parent, but which greatly resembles a distant relative.


One or two white feathers found on the head or face. On red birds these are generally black and found on the flights and the tail feathers.

A word used to describe the activity of a fancier when he takes his pigeons from the loft in a crate, to another point and releases them.


Refers to a device which allows a pigeon to only enter a loft, and not to leave.


The term given to young birds' activity when they leave the immediate area of the loft and fly for long periods of time before returning.

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- U -
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- V -
Vent bones:

Two small bones directly behind the breast-bone.

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- W -
Washed out:

A pigeon with a bad eye color.


Refers to the rough, white somewhat rigid skin-like formation at the top of the beak.


Taking the young away from the parents.


A racing system flown without hens.

Wing butt:

The part of the wing that is most forward when closed; this is found at the joint of the hand and forearm.

White Flight:

Refers to a pigeon which is normal in its color, with the exception of two or three white-colored flights in one or both wings.

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- X -
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- Y -

A 1-year-old pigeon.

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- Z -
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- # -
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