Giant Majesty: Introducing the Crowned Pigeon, the Largest and Most Opulent of All

The biggest and the most elegant, these birds are almost royal blue in color, along with their crowns which makes them the avian royalty of their species!

Meet the Crowned pigeon

Photo Courtesy of Dennis Skyum / CC BY-SA 4.0

The crowned pigeons (Goura), is a genus of birds in the Columbidae family which contains four large species of pigeon. One of the largest is the Victoria crowned pigeon, which is around 29 inches in length with mostly blue-grey plumage, and very elegant blue lace-like crests on their heads. Their chests are maroon and their eyes are red.

“Victoria Crowned Pigeon” by digitalART2 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

They are easily distinguished from other crowned pigeons by the white tips on their crests.

Males and females are almost identical, with the male being more easily recognizable during the breeding season when he will coo and bow for the female.

“The Royal Couple: Victoria Crowned Pigeons” by Charles Patrick Ewing is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

This species is endemic to and still found in, New Guinea, from Geelvink Bay, Indonesia, to Astrolabe Bay, as well as an isolated area around Collingwood Bay in easternmost Papua New Guinea. It can also be found in the Yapen Islands and Biak-Supiori, where it may have been introduced.

“Western Crowned Pigeon / Goura cristata / 冠鳩(カンムリバト)” by TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋) is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Victoria crowned pigeon is found mainly in lowland rainforest and swampy forested areas, at altitudes up to 600m, where they forage on the ground for fruits, seeds, and berries. They will, however, occasionally eat snails and insects.

“VICTORIA CROWN PIGEON” by DMZ111 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

These birds are monogamous and tend to mate for life. Capable of breeding throughout the year, a nest is built from stems, sticks, and palm leaves, placed in a suitable tree. The female lays one egg which she then incubates for 30 days. Once the egg hatched, the male steps in to help his mate feed the chick, which is fully-fledged after around 4 weeks. They continue to feed the fledgling for another 8-9 weeks.

“Western Crowned Pigeon {goura cristata}” by Drew Avery is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Though they have a large breeding range, crowned pigeons as a whole are now a threatened species. Loss of habitat due to palm oil production, along with the caged-bird trade, and hunting for their meat, have all contributed to the population decline of this naturally tame bird.

“VICTORIA CROWNED PIGEON” by cuatrok77 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Watch this bird right here in the video below:

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