Crested Pigeon Click to enlarge image
Crested Pigeon Image: Dave Curtis
creative commons

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    lophotes
    Genus
    Ocyphaps
    Family
    Columbidae
    Order
    Columbiformes
    Class
    Aves
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    30 - 35 cm

If startled, this pigeon takes to the air with a characteristic whistling flight, and glides with down-turned wings. The whistling sound is produced by the air passing over a modified primary feather on the wing. Upon landing, the pigeon swings its tail high in the air.

Identification

The Crested Pigeon is a stocky pigeon with a conspicuous thin black crest. Most of the plumage is grey-brown, becoming more pink on the underparts. The wings are barred with black, and are decorated with glossy green and purple patches. The head is grey, with an pinkish-red ring around the eye. If startled, this pigeon takes to the air with a characteristic whistling flight, and glides with down turned wings. The whistling sound is produced by the air passing over a modified primary feather on the wing. Upon landing, the pigeon swings its tail high in the air.

Habitat

The Crested Pigeon is found in lightly wooded grasslands in both rural and urban areas. It is usually found in the vicinity of water, as it has to drink every day, and is absent from the denser forests.

Distribution

The Crested Pigeon is native to Australia and is common throughout most of the mainland.



Feeding and diet

The Crested Pigeon's diet consists mostly of native seeds, as well as those of introduced crops and weeds. Some leaves and insects are also eaten. Feeding is in small to large groups, which also congregate to drink at waterholes. Birds arrive in nearby trees, and often sit for long periods before descending to drink. Drinking and feeding are most common in morning and evening, but can occur at any time.

Life history cycle

The nest of the Crested Pigeon is a delicate structure of twigs placed in a tree or dense bush. Both sexes share the incubation of the eggs, and both care for the young. The young birds hatch after about three weeks and leave the nest after a further three weeks.

  • Breeding season: Usually September to March; can breed at any time
  • Clutch size: 2
  • Incubation: 21 days
  • Time in nest: 21 days

References

  • Crome, F. and Shields, J. 1992. Parrots and Pigeons of Australia. Angus and Robertson/National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Sydney.