It got its name from British Monarch Queen Victoria. The Victoria crowned pigeon is one of nature’s most spectacular creations. The largest species of pigeon in the world is also the prettiest with a blue-laced crest adorning its head.
Native to New Guinea, this unique bird mostly feds on fallen fruits, mainly figs and berries, and also insects. Even though they have been long bred in captivity, their numbers are rapidly dwindling because of poaching and loss of habitat.
The Victoria crowned pigeon is hunted both for its meat and feathers. Their population has decimated to such an extent that they are now listed under the Red List of Threatened Species as Near Threatened.
The Red List is drawn up by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and is the most comprehensive inventory in the world of the conservation status of biological species.
The Victoria-crowned pigeon doesn’t resemble the normal pigeon in any way. It has a spectacular crown on its head that sets of its bright blue feathers.
This large bird species can grow into one-third the size of the turkey. The Victoria crowned pigeon is rarely seen in its natural habitat as its numbers have dwindled alarmingly due to hunting and deforestation.
The Victoria Crowned Pigeon In Not A Very Prolific Breeder
The Victoria crowned pigeon is also not the most prolific of breeders with the female laying just one egg in a mating season. Their mating ritual is unique and elaborate as can be expected to form such a beautiful bird.
The male begins the courtship ritual by approaching the female and showing off his beautiful crest, his most notable feature. It is followed by a specific, perfectly choreographed mating ritual that involves a rhythmic swaying of its beautiful tail which intensely continues for a long time.
At present, the Victoria crowned pigeon is found mostly in zoos and aviaries. It is advisable not to keep them as pets due to the experience and care needed to handle this beautiful bird. They also need open spaces to thrive.
The Victoria-crowned pigeon once thrived in New Guinea and some regions of Indonesia such as the Yapen islands. It is one of the four species of ground-dwelling pigeons.
The bird can survive both in the wet and dry forests and though these ground dwellers are found usually found at sea level, the bird has been also found in forests at an elevation of around 3,000 feet.
The Bird Matches The Peacock For Its Elaborate Plumage
The birds are a favorite attraction at zoos both for their size and even more so for their color and plumage.
The birds grow up to a length of 75 centimeters and can weigh up to 3.5 kilograms. This largest species of pigeons sports a blueish-gray coat which is accentuated by the small dark mask.
The wings sport a bar that is lighter and are in general tipped with a maroon finish. The Victoria crowned pigeon usually has a deep purple shade on its chest that brilliantly matches with its blue-gray back and crest.
The elaborate crest of feathers has a white tip at the end. The color and the spread of the tendrils have led to people comparing the Victoria crowned pigeon with the peacock. Both the male and the female have elaborate crowns.
Certain features of the Victoria crowned pigeon are similar to other crowned pigeons. They create a clapping noise when they take off, but their vocalization is different from other pigeons and is quite startling for those who haven’t heard it before. They have a different call when they are in a defensive mode.
The Victoria crowned pigeon has an easy-going disposition and is easily tamed. The intelligent birds are also very docile and are found roaming freely even in their captive enclosures. These birds only take off when they are alarmed or when they fly to a tree to roost at night.
Conflict among males is mild and usually settled after a mild quarrel. They are social and like to live in groups.
The birds are usually ground rummagers and forage in small clusters feeding on fruits, seeds, grains, and small invertebrates like worms. But figs are their favorite diet.
Plantations and logging continue to diminish their natural habitats. Though it is illegal to keep them in captivity, it is common in many regions. There are currently between 10,000 to 20,000 birds in the wild.