Victoria Crowned Pigeon Fact File
The Victoria crowned pigeon is the world’s largest pigeon species. They are colored blue-grey across their body feathers with a maroon patch on the front of the body. A Victoria crowned pigeon will have 16 tail feathers compared to the 12 of other pigeons.
On top of the head is a collection of lacy like feathers from which their common name is derived.
Their eyes are colored red. Around the eye is a patch of dark colored feathers. They have strong feet with long toes which help them to walk across the ground where they spend most of their time.
They measure 74cm (29in) long and weigh 2-2.5kg (4.4-5.5lbs). Both genders are a similar size though males are sometimes larger.
Victoria crowned pigeons are omnivores. They feed on a range of fruits, berries, seeds and insects. Food is found mostly on the ground.
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They can be found in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea on the island of New Guinea. Populations of the Victoria crowned pigeon can also be found on some islands around New Guinea.
They make their home in lowland forest and swamp forest.
Victoria crowned pigeons are typically monogamous and remain with their mate for life. They may still choose to separate if they fail to produce eggs.
The male will court the female by bowing his head and moving his tail. He will also make booming sounds and bring the female sticks.
A single egg is laid in the nest. The nest is a platform which has been formed from twigs, stems, roots and leave. This will be incubated by both parents for 30 days.
After hatching the young will be tended to by both parents. They will create crop ‘milk’ for the chick which is a rare behavior among birds. Both parents produce this. It is also performed by flamingoes. This behavior continues for the first few days of the chick’s life and is gradually replaced with solid food.
By four weeks old the chick is ready to leave the nest though the parents continue to provide care for a further 9 weeks.
If the chicks or eggs perish due to predation the mother will lay a second clutch of eggs.
Sexual maturity is reached at 15 months old.
They will gather in groups of 2-10 birds to feed.
Most of their time is spent on the floor of the forest where they will walk around. They are able to fly but are reluctant to do this unless threatened. In a typical day they will forage in the morning, rest through the hottest parts of the day before foraging again in the afternoon.
At night they will roost on a tree branch.
Their call is a loud ‘whooping’ noise.
Predators and Threats
Humans affect their population through habitat destruction including for the development of palm oil plantations.
Hunting of the birds themselves has decreased in recent years and this has lead to them being downgraded from vulnerable on the IUCN red list.
They are protected across their range though some are still collected for the illegal wildlife trade.
The Victoria crowned pigeon is the world’s largest pigeon species.
They are one of the three species of crowned pigeon.
Twycross Zoo. 2020. Victoria Crowned Pigeon | Twycross Zoo. [online] Available at: <https://twycrosszoo.org/animals/victoria-crowned-pigeon/> [Accessed 24 August 2020].
Brevard Zoo. 2020. Victoria Crowned Pigeon. [online] Available at: <https://brevardzoo.org/animals/austral-asia/victoria-crowned-pigeon/> [Accessed 24 August 2020].
Torontozoo.com. 2020. Toronto Zoo | Animals. [online] Available at: <http://www.torontozoo.com/animals/Victoria%20crowned%20pigeon> [Accessed 24 August 2020].
Dallas World Aquarium. 2020. Victoria Crowned Pigeon. [online] Available at: <https://dwazoo.com/animal/victoria-crowned-pigeon/> [Accessed 24 August 2020].
BirdLife International. 2016. Goura victoria. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22691874A93326799. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22691874A93326799.en. Downloaded on 24 August 2020.
Chritiansen, P., 2019. Birds. London: Amber Books, p.121.