High-flying fancy pigeons are popular in Western and European countries. Interestingly, they are not as common in the Philippines. During my high school days, the only fancy pigeons I encountered were the pigeon owls and giant types.
The fancy pigeons dominated show competitions in the feather category, which exhibited a bird’s color, size, feather, beak, shape, and form. There are about 500 breeds.
I tried to take care of fancy pigeons, but I couldn’t cope with the breeds coming in from other countries. Last year, I started caring for a pair of unique pied-type Budapest fancy pigeons of white and cream colors.
The Budapest High Flyer is a domestic fancy pigeon first appearing in Hungary over many years of selective breeding. They are also known as Foltli, Budapest, Short-Faced Tumbler Pigeon, and Budapest Colored.
Along with other varieties of domestiated pigeons, the Budapest High Flyer is a descendant of the wild or feral rock pigeon. This bird is a performing breed, but their unique appearance made them popular for shows.
They allegedly could fly so high that they would become little dots in the sky before they dropped back to the loft, although I haven’t seen that happen. I searched online for videos and, according to a YouTube channel, the birds could fly really high for two to three hours.
The Budapest High Flyer is a small-sized bird with a distinctive square-shaped head. They have slim bodies with short beaks. They have really huge and somewhat bulging eyes.
They are quite light in weight, averaging around 200 to 250 grams.
These pigeons are alert and active, but they’re also very composed. They are noted for their wonderful personalities and happy nature. They usually respond to human affection, and make for very good companions.
Their average lifespan is about 7 to 10 years.
Fancying the fancy pigeon
There are many things I like about the Budapest Pigeon. They are like the Chihuahuas from the canine world because they are very compact and delicate, yet their presence is reassuring. They also look like a short-beaked ostrich, and even walk in the same manner. My children find them so cute that they even compared them to the Celestial goldfish.
My all-time favorite movie was E.T. (Extraterrestrial), which was about an alien with a peculiar look and a loving personality. If you look closely at the Budapest, you will see a resemblance.
Because of their small size, they make for ideal companions. Compared to others of their kind, they are easier to maintain as they have fewer droppings. And when they mate and give offspring, they turn out to be devoted parents.
If you intend to take care of Budapest pigeons, provide smaller grains instead of commercially-mixed feeds because of their small beaks.
I have not seen any other type of fancy pigeon smaller than the Budapest. And while there are so many animals at home, my children aren’t that fond of pigeons – except when the Budapest birds are concerned.
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This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s November-December 2020 issue.