Feral pigeon

Domestic pigeon; scientific name: Columba livia f. domestica
Domestic pigeon
Photo: UPB-Projektgruppe Trier

A pigeon species home in nearly every city.

The feral pigeon was chosen as a specimen type characteristic of settlement areas (conurbations and agrarian areas) and as a suitable, well-studied bioindicator. Being a cosmopolitan bird, it lends itself to a comparative observation of pollution levels in its various habitats.

The pigeon eggs are used as a specimen. Sampling only takes place in dovecotes during the main laying season from March to August.

Guideline for Sampling and Sample Preparation Feral pigeon (Columba livia f. domestica)

Target organs/Matrices

Egg content Eggs are suited as accumulation indicators and mirror the contamination of the breeding females. The shell protects the egg contents and inhibits a contamination of the sample.

Sampling area

Saarländischer Verdichtungsraum Important, old-industrialised conurbation in Germany.
Bornhöveder Seengebiet Main water divide between the North- and Baltic Sea
Verdichtungsraum Halle-Leipzig Region in the chemical triangle of Central Germany


Metals Eighty percent of all elements on earth are metals
Nonmetals Only eighteen elements in the periodic table
Chlorohydrocarbons Group of organic compounds with at least one covalently bonded chlorine atom
DDT and metabolites Toxic and persistent organochloropesticide
Hexachlorocyclohexane Several isomeric compounds among the group of chlorinated hydrocarbons
Stable Isotopes Atoms of one element with different weights
Supplementary parameters Additional information for the interpretation of contamination data

Sampling period

1993 - 2013

Biometric parameters

Fresh full weight  
Shell dry weight  
Shell thickness