Crowned Pigeons

The Victoria Crowned Pigeon
The Victoria Crowned Pigeon

There are three big crowned pigeons in the world. They are the Western Crowned Pigeon, Southern Crowned  Pigeon and Victoria Crowned Pigeon. They are nearly the size of a turkey. They weigh between 2-4kg (4.4-8.8lbs). They the biggest members of the pigeon family. The three crowed pigeons look alike.

They are large blue-grey birds with deep maroon below. They are different from other pigeons because they have 16 tail feathers instead of only 12 tail feathers.

They live in New Guinea and in a few surrounding islands. They eat fruit, seeds and snails. The males and females are almost identical. Both mum and dad  help to keep the one egg warm. The egg takes about 28 to 30 days to hatch. The egg is white. They produce “crop milk” for their  chick like the flamingos.  Both mum and dad crowned pigeons are able to produce this “crop milk”. Their chick will take 30 days to be ready to fly and be independent. They can live over 20 years old.

They make their nests from the twigs and roots of shrubs and trees. They love tall hedges. They tend to be faithful partners for life. They will begin their day with a chorus of calls before they go out to hunt. They do not sip when drinking but instead they dip their bill and suck the water to drink. Their bill acts like a straw for them. They move around in flocks during the day and rest in flocks too at night. They love each other’s company and they tend to be safer from their predators when they are in flocks.

These pigeons are hunted for the beautiful crest on their heads and also hunted for their yummy meat. Therefore, to make sure that these big pigeons will not become extinct, there now are laws to protect them. However, they have mostly disappeared especially near inhabited places. They are reported to be very common still in the wild jungles of New Guinea.