Pigeons are often considered city pests that do nothing more than desecrate statues and carry disease, yet there are several stunning pigeon species that will make you think twice. With iridescent wings to fancy head dresses, here are a few extraordinarily decorated pigeons that stand out among their kind.
There are over 310 known types of pigeon in the world, and we’ve chosen six of our favorites to share with you.
1. The Pink-Necked Green Pigeon
The pink-necked green pigeon (Treron vernans) hails from Myanmar and Vietnam down to Indonesia and the Philippines. Both males and females share a predominantly green plumage, but the decorated male has the soft pink neck-scarf that gives the species its name.
Pink-necked green pigeons are instrumental in spreading fruit seeds but are just as likely to be found in crowded cities where fruit trees are present, as they dwell in orchards and forests. According to the IUCN, they are thriving.
The Nicobar Pigeon
The shimmering nicobar pigeon (Caloenas nicobaricais) is native to the coastal regions between the Bay of Bengal and the Malay Archipelago. It may be the closest living relative of the extinct dodo.
It is considered a large pigeon, measuring up to 16 inches in length. The upper neck plumage sports beautiful green and copper hackles while the body is a rich, metallic green. The nicobar pigeon is a vocal bird to boot, with a distinctive, low-pitched, repetitive call.
The Victoria Crowned Pigeon
The Victoria crowned pigeon (Goura victoria) stands out from the crowd with its intricate lace-like crest and red-hued eyes. This pigeon being native to New Guinea, locals can identify this bird not only from its unique appearance but also from its deep “whooping” call.
This regal-looking pigeon is named after the British monarch Queen Victoria, but its numbers are decreasing; the bird is listed as “near threatened” on the IUCN Red List owing to deforestation and being hunted for its feathers and meat.
The Bronzewing Pigeon
The wings of the bronzewing pigeon (Phaps chalcoptera) appear bronze or greenish-brown in dull light. An array of extraordinary colors comes alive, however, when the bird moves under the light of the sun.
Although they are capable of fast flight, bronzewings are ground feeders, explains Birds In Backyards. They are also perhaps the closest relative of the common pigeon; while the common or “rock” pigeon may be the Plain Jane of the pigeon world, its bronzewing cousin is bathed in metallic splendor.
The Spinifex Pigeon
The spinifex pigeon (Geophaps plumifera) is native to the arid lands of northern and northwestern Australia. It is a small, compact pigeon weighing between 80 and 110 grams (approx. 3 and 4 ounces), and the male is similar both in color and size to females.
The spinifex pigeon usually sticks to pairings or small groups of up to 20 birds and is renowned for its spectacular bowing display. With its tail spread like a fan, the bird’s shining secondary feathers and black outer tail feathers flash into view; according to Birds of the World, this beautiful display is often performed just for fun and not as part of a mating or defense ritual.
The African Green Pigeon
Treron calvus sports green wings and burgundy shoulders and is one of five green pigeon species native to the Afrotropics. These birds live in the canopies of trees and can climb among branches the same way parrots do in order to reach fruit, their main food source; wild fig is their favorite.
According to eBird, the African green pigeon hides well, but groups will “explode” in flight from a tree if disturbed. The species can be easily identified by its fun song, comprising clicks, whistles, cackles, and growls.
Which is your favorite member of the pigeon family? Share these exquisite photos and spread the word; there’s much, much more to the pigeon world than we ever knew!
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