When you think of a pigeon, perhaps you envision a small, plucky, dirty urban dweller. But the largest of the living pigeon species – the Victoria crowned pigeon – is in contrast quite beautiful, with bright bluish-gray plumes and an ornate feathered crown.
In the wild, the Victoria crowned pigeon is only found in the lowland, tropical dense forests of New Guinea and nearby offshore islands. They forage on the ground, searching for seeds, fruit and snails. When threatened, these birds sometimes raise their wings to appear larger and more threatening. (Check out this amazing up-close photograph of a Victoria crowned pigeon’s feathers!).
Crowned pigeons are threatened by illegal collection for animal trade, sport hunting, mining activities and deforestation. They are currently listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Want a glimpse of these eye-catching birds? Here’s a Victoria crowned pigeon father and a hatchling chick on exhibit at the Philadelphia Zoo:
Did you know? Crowned pigeons mate for life, produce milk to feed their chicks and are a living relative of the extinct dodo bird. Follow @natgeowild on Twitter to learn more fascinating #DidYouKnow animal facts!
Photo Credit: Jodi Kendall