Nun Pigeon: Appearance, Origin, Uses & Breed Information

The Nun pigeon is a breed of domestic fancy pigeon which is also known as the Dutch Shell Pigeon in continental Europe. It was developed over many years of selective breeding.

This breed along with other varieties of domesticated pigeons, all are descendants from the rock pigeon.

It is one of the oldest pigeon breeds and was originally a flying tumbler before being developed for exhibition.

Exact origins of this breed are unknown, but it resembles the Tumbler pigeons, from which it originated.

The breed is named so mainly for the raised feathers which form a kind of hood which covers the back of the neck and head. Read some more information about the Nun pigeon breed below.

Nun Pigeon Appearance

The Nun pigeon is relatively a smaller sized breed, mostly with white bodies and is designated according to the color of their head.

These birds can be black headed or a yellow headed Nun. Head, tail and the flight feathers are mainly colored. They have a distinctive ‘shell crest’ of upturned feathers along the back of the neck.

They are clean legged and their eyes should be pearly white in color. Their beak is straight but stout.
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The British Nun Club standard for the Nun states that the ideal size for male birds should be 9 inches (23 cm) from the top of the bird’s head to their feet, and 10 inches (25 cm) from the front of the chest to its tail.

Female and young birds should be roughly the same size. Average live body weight of the mature birds is about 370 grams. Photo and info from Wikipedia.


The Nun pigeon is used for both flying and exhibition purposes. It is also good for raising as pets.

Special Notes

The Nun pigeon is a hardy and strong bird. It was a popular flying bird in the western Europe in the past centuries.

Nun pigeons are one breed in a group of pigeons who fly at high altitudes, along with types of Tumblers and the Magpie breed.

But modern birds are bred only for exhibition purpose in the United States.

The breed is also very good for raising as pets. However, review full breed profile of the Nun pigeon in the following chart.

Nun Pigeon | Breed Profile

Breed Name Nun
Other Name Dutch Shell Pigeon
Breed Purpose Flying, exhibition and pets
Special Notes Beautiful birds, hardy and strong, was a popular flying bird in the past, can fly at high altitudes, good for exhibition, good for raising as pets
Breed Class Small to medium
Weight Around 370 grams
Climate Tolerance All climates
Flying Ability Good
As Pets Good
Color Many
Rarity Common
Country/Place of Origin Europe

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