Background: Genetic variation at the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene is correlated with melanin color variation in many birds. Feral pigeons (Columba livia) show two major melanin-based colorations: a red coloration due to pheomelanic pigment and a black coloration due to eumelanic pigment. Furthermore, within each color type, feral pigeons display continuous variation in the amount of melanin pigment present in the feathers, with individuals varying from pure white to a full dark melanic color. Coloration is highly heritable and it has been suggested that it is under natural or sexual selection, or both. Our objective was to investigate whether MC1R allelic variants are associated with plumage color in feral pigeons. Findings: We sequenced 888 bp of the coding sequence of MC1R among pigeons varying both in the type, eumelanin or pheomelanin, and the amount of melanin in their feathers. We detected 10 non-synonymous substitutions and 2 synonymous substitution but none of them were associated with a plumage type. It remains possible that non-synonymous substitutions that influence coloration are present in the short MC1R fragment that we did not sequence but this seems unlikely because we analyzed the entire functionally important region of the gene. Conclusions: Our results show that color differences among feral pigeons are probably not attributable to amino acid variation at the MC1R locus. Therefore, variation in regulatory regions of MC1R or variation in other genes may be responsible for the color polymorphism of feral pigeons.