The Birmingham Roller Pigeon is a popular domestic pigeon bred in the UK, as the name suggests, in Birmingham. It has been selectively bred to produce a pigeon that can perform swift somersaults in the air while it flies, and can turn over backwards in the air rapidly for quite some distance while flying, like a spinning ball.
As with many of the other pigeon and dove breeds in the countryside and cities across the UK, the Birmingham Roller Pigeon has serval variations which keepers come to learn as they get to know their birds.
Birmingham Roller Origins
While the precise origins of the Birmingham Roller Pigeon are not clear, the breed was popularized in the city that provides its name. It is thought that breeders who had noticed their birds rolling while flying had bred it with others to reinforce their genetic trait.
While rolling pigeons are not mentioned in historic texts, a Persian text from the 10th century mentions tumbling pigeons, and it is known that the mechanics of tumbling on the ground are very close to that of rolling in flight.
Birmingham Roller Pigeon Appearance
The most common colours/patterns are blue and red, and they are displayed as: checked, self, bar, spread, badge, mottle, grizzle and bald.
There are other desirable traits, such as size, feather quality, show/domestic temperament, and eye features that may improve and impact performances, and could be marked down by judges if any of these qualities are lacking.
Why Do They Roll?
While there are many theories and ideas about why the pigeons roll, there is no real evidence to back up any of the reasons that people have suggested. The mechanics of rolling are understood, but not the bird’s compulsion.
Recent studies have noted that when rolling, the bird’s head goes back, its tail goes up, and the wings are raised, which is the opposite of what a bird does when it is attempting to fly.
This suggests that the biological mechanism used by the bird to determine its location and flying may have mutated incorrectly, which explains why wild birds are not seen exhibiting the same behaviour, due to domestic pigeons being subject to selective breeding.
While it is believed by some that the modern Birmingham Roller Pigeon is a descendent of the Oriental Roller Pigeon, there is yet no genetic evidence to prove the claim.
Birmingham Roller Character
One of the main reasons why the birds are so popular is their character. Keepers will soon get to know their individual quirks, such as the pair that are always last to come induing feeding, or hens that like to kick other hens when they are on perches.
These birds have personality if they are normalised to human behaviour, especially in a domestic suburban setting, and especially if they are allowed to hang around with other birds.
They take cues from each other, so if you put a nervous bird with other birds that are confident around you, then the nervous bird will relax when you are near.
If you’re interested in keeping the Birmingham Roller and looking for pigeon food, visit our online store today.