Fancy pigeons come in all shapes sizes.

Fancy pigeons come in all shapes sizes. Photo: Adam McLean

The fanciest of fancy pigeons are on show this weekend as association picks its national champions.

The people of Ipswich could expect around 2500 pigeons this weekend as the region hosts the 31st annual Australian National Pigeon Association show.

The show, held at Ipswich Showground until Sunday, includes 70 breeds of “fancy” pigeons from all over Australia being judged on everything from their beaks to their tails.

“The majority of the pigeons on display look nothing like homing or racing pigeons”, according to Bob Grant, president of the association.

“People who have never seen them before are usually amazed, and kids in particular show a great interest.”

Fancy pigeons are specially-bred to enhance certain traits in each breed, such as specific shaped tails or markings.

Fancy pigeons were first developed in Europe in the 16th century, with the first of them reaching Australia in the 1800s. The development of fancy pigeons notably caught the attention of Charles Darwin while studying the theory of evolution.

The practise has grown since the 30-year ban on pigeon importing was lifted in the early 1990s, although strict quarantine measures are still in place.

Admission, for fanciers and interested onlookers alike, is free.