Wonga Pigeon Click to enlarge image
Wonga Pigeon Image: David Cook
creative commons

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    melanoleuca
    Genus
    Leucosarcia
    Family
    Columbidae
    Order
    Columbiformes
    Class
    Aves
    Phylum
    Chordata
  • Size Range
    Up to 38 cm.

Large, ground-dwelling, grey bird with distinct white ‘V’ on chest.

Identification

A large, plump, ground-dwelling pigeon with a small head, short, broad wings and a long tail. It is mainly grey above, with a pale face, a distinctive white V on the breast and white lower parts that are boldly marked with black-brown crescents and wedges. The eyes are dark red-brown with a pink eye-ring and the bill, feet and legs are deep pink to red. Young birds are browner above and the ‘V’ is less distinct.

Habitat

Dense coastal forests, rainforests and scrubs. It is often seen in clearings near forests.

Distribution

Eastern Australia.



Feeding and diet

The Wonga Wonga is known to make clearly visible 'tracks' by following exactly the same path each time they visit a feeding site. It forages exclusively on the ground, feeding on seeds of native and introduced plants as well as fallen fruit and the occasional insect.

Communication

Its call is a loud monotonous 'woop woop' that can be heard up to 2 km away.

Breeding behaviours

It is monogamous, with breeding pairs defending the area around the nest. Threat displays include bowing and clicking while walking towards an intruder. The nest is built in large trees, usually high off the ground, and is a saucer-shaped platform of twigs and sticks, lined with soft plant materials. Both sexes incubate the eggs and feed the young. They use a special 'cryptic posture' when sitting on the nest, keeping their patterned tail raised high and facing any observers, while peering over the tail to keep an eye on potential threats.