We trained 7 pigeons to discriminate visual displays of 16 same items from displays of 16 different items. The specific stimulus features of the items and the relations among the items could serve as discriminative stimuli. Unlike in most studies of same-different discrimination behavior, we gave a small number of probe tests during each session of acquisition to measure the time-course of control by the learning of specific stimulus features and relational cues. Both the specific stimulus features and relational cues exerted reliable stimulus control, with the specific stimulus features exerting more control during the final three fourths of same-different learning. These findings replicate research suggesting that pigeons encode both the specific stimulus features and relational cues, and for the first time document the time-course of control by each kind of cue.