Bird Families

Crowned pigeon - endangered bird with a crown

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Crowned pigeon - a real decoration of any dovecote. Lovers of these beautiful birds strive to purchase at least one specimen in their nursery. They will be distinguished by their special beauty, you can admire their splendor for hours. Photo of a crowned pigeon is always in the places of honor of any gallery in the world, because they are considered an endangered species.

Features and habitat of the crowned pigeon

Crowned pigeon belongs to the order of pigeons, has three distinctive types. Outwardly, they are all similar, differ only in habitats. The first descriptions were made by James Francis Stevens in 1819.

When a number of studies were carried out, it turned out that the bird has more ancient ancestors than ordinary pigeons. After analyzing their DNA, scientists came to the conclusion that part of the genetics belongs to the extinct species of "dodo" and "hermit".

The body of the bird is large, about the size of a turkey. The length ranges from 60 to 70 cm. The weight ranges from 2 to 3 kg. Females and males are not very different from each other. The head is small, the eyes are placed in a black oval and are surrounded by a red border, a long beak, paws of medium length, strong, claws are tenacious and strong.

Color crowned pigeon occupies a significant place in the description. The lower part of the body is colored dark brown, turning into a chestnut shade. The upper part is light blue with purple accents. On the wings there are wide stripes of white.

The crest is three times the size of the head itself, fluffed, with tassels at the tips. Creates a fan effect. The feathers are short in front, then go longer and end in a dense bouquet. The crest has a blue tint with iridescence, the tassels are painted white.

The largest bird population is located in New Guinea and has 10 thousand individuals. Also crowned pigeons posted in some regions Australia... According to legend, the locals consider birds to be messengers of the Almighty, who protects them from wars.

In the entire history of the continent, there have been no fierce military battles, but the country willingly participated in peacekeeping actions. The bird inhabits thinned forests or forest belts, yet they like to dwell closer to humans. Farming and agricultural land, where there is a lot of food for them, are their favorite places.

The nature and lifestyle of a crowned pigeon

Crowned pigeon - a very trusting and good-natured bird. In fact, in nature they have no direct enemies, therefore they are not shy. They love human society, if the bird is not chased away, then it can demonstrate its beauty and loves to pose for the camera.

They lead a diurnal lifestyle, they are busy looking for food all day. During the mating season, they devote a lot of time to their partner. Even swans can envy their care.

Youngsters huddle in a flock, only created pairs keep a little apart. They move a lot on the ground, flights take much less time, they like to sit on branches for hours.

Food

The main diet of the bird is made up of various varieties of grains and cereals, seeds, berries, seasonal juicy fruits, sometimes insects and snails. They skillfully search the ground for the remains of fallen seeds, nuts, they like to collect pebbles and sand.

They adore fresh foliage and greenery, they are ready to raid newly sprouted crops. Sometimes they can act as orderlies of trees, from under the soft bark they take out small invertebrates and their larvae.

Reproduction and life expectancy of a crowned pigeon

During courtship crowned pigeon very attentive to his partner. To gain her trust, he spends a lot of time with her, flying from branch to branch. The male makes a pleasant rumbling, as if singing a romance. Sometimes it sounds like drums.He also seeks to show the female where she will choose a place for the nest.

Pictured is the nest of a crowned pigeon

Having decided on the place, the birds sit on it for a very long time, showing the others that this is their territory. A couple is created once and for all, if one of them dies, then the rest lives alone.

By mid-autumn, the pair ends up nesting at a height of about 6-10 meters above the ground. The female lays one egg, rarely two. The rights are distributed between the parents: the female incubates the clutch at night, the male - during the day. The chick appears in the fourth week of incubation. The baby is with the parents from 30 to 40 days, after which the chick prepares for the flight.

Pictured is a crowned pigeon with a chick

Life span crowned pigeon in natural conditions for 20 years, in captivity it can be more. All species of this family of birds are protected, although it is impossible to track every poacher. Pigeon meat has excellent taste, it belongs to the dietary type of product.

Also, because of the beautiful appearance and tuft, feathers are used to make souvenirs. If you are an avid pigeon lover, then buy crowned representative is best in the nursery.

You will be advised to have a healthy bird, with all vaccinations and care instructions. It is safe to say that this bird is a very rare occurrence in the vastness of our country. It is brought only by prior order, price of a crowned pigeon is about 60 thousand rubles.

Origin and subspecies

Representatives of a unique species of birds are native to New Guinea, where they live, as well as in nearby Australia and nearby islands. The exuberant tropical beauty of these places has left its mark on the appearance of the birds. The breed of crowned pigeons has three subspecies:

The fan-nosed pigeon is considered the most beautiful, since it has the most magnificent lace crest on its head and the brightest color of the upper body, usually bright blue or heavenly shades.

The color of the plumage of a blue-crested pigeon has a blue tint, there are no black triangular tassels in the crown, which are present in the crest of the fan-nosed pigeon, the upper part of the back of the bird is brown.

The name of the chestnut-breasted pigeon speaks for itself: chestnut breast, otherwise it is close in color to its fellows, there are no black beards in the bird's crest.

Unforgettable color

In size, the crowned pigeon is rather large, its weight reaches 3 kg, the body length is up to 75 cm. In size, it rather resembles a turkey, and in terms of beauty and beauty - a peacock. As a rule, females are much smaller and more graceful than males. The birds have majestic royal manners, walking slowly, raising and lowering their tail.

The pigeon has a small rounded head, a blue curved beak, amber eyes with black edging. Strong wings with the obligatory white and blue transverse stripe, the same as on the bushy tail, rather long. The bird has scaly legs with short toes and claws.

A gorgeous brown or chestnut coloration on the lower half of the body and a varied palette of sky blues and blues adorn the pigeon's neck and head. Although they are quite large in size, they are not migratory birds. During the flight of birds, the noise of powerful wings is heard.

In the article "The Most-Most Doves in the World" you can find out interesting details about other types of these amazing birds.

Tropical habitat

For a place of permanent habitation and breeding, the crowned breed of pigeons chooses wetlands, lowlands, with an invariably warm climate. It is there, for them there is a sufficient amount of the necessary food.

Birds do not fly a lot, preferring to move on the ground in search of food: berries, fallen fruits, small insects, they never rummage in the foliage, they pick up what is lying in plain sight. Figs are a favorite treat for pigeons.

Without rising high, even with a visible threat, birds rise and sit on tree branches, staying on them for a long time and giving signals, flick their tail. They do not have direct enemies, however, the pigeon can turn out to be the prey of a predator or poachers because of its gullibility.

The uncontrolled extermination of birds due to the extraction of beautiful plumage has led to a decrease in the number, and at present the crowned pigeon breed is an endangered species.

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Characteristics of the Crowned Pigeon

For city dwellers, pigeons have long been a part of the landscape. We are accustomed to a certain external appearance of these birds, and it is hard to imagine that relatives, completely different from traditional pigeons, live in distant lands. Meet the exotic bird Crowned pigeon.

Appearance

The habitat of the hero of this article is Australia and the islands of New Guinea. Their life expectancy is up to 20 years. The crowned pigeon is the largest representative of its family and resembles a large peacock in its appearance. What are the characteristic features of the appearance of a Venetian dove?

  1. The first thing that catches your eye when looking at a bird is a whimsical crest, as if woven from openwork, reminiscent of a fan. This "crown" is quite large, and the dove wears it majestically.
  2. The curved tail of 15 tail feathers stretches several tens of centimeters in length.
  3. Powerful, developed wings that help the bird to keep balance well in the air.
  4. The scaly legs of the Crowned Pigeon are hook-shaped.
  5. The light blue beak is bent down.
  6. The color is similar to that of an ordinary pigeon, but somewhat brighter. The area below the neck and part of the wing has a burgundy tint. The coffee-colored eyes are surrounded by a dark halo.

Varieties

The catchy and handsome Venetian stands out against the backdrop of nature. From a distance it can be mistaken for a rare breed of turkey. But not all members of this breed look the same. Consider the subspecies, of which Crowned has three.

  1. The Crowned Crowned Pigeon is the most stunning and rarest member of the breed. Is on the verge of extinction. It lives on the New Guinea Islands and prefers swampy areas or forests. Representatives of the species keep in flocks. Large and fleshy, the Fan Pigeon prides itself on its bright blue plumage. Its abdomen is brown in color, and a white stripe can usually be seen on the wing. The weight of the fan-bearer is gaining quickly and eventually reaches about 2.5 kg, the average height is 70 cm.
  2. The distinctive sign of the Blue-Crested Crowned Pigeon is the structure of this very crest. He has a “headdress” of blue color, mossy, reminiscent of thick human hair, there are no “beards” on the crest. The strip is located on the back and wings. The rest is similar to the pigeons that live in our area. It weighs, like the previous one, 2.5 kg, in height reaches 80 cm. Males of the Blue-crested Crowned Pigeon are larger than females. Blue-crested is not prone to flying (unless in case of danger), and his gait is sedate, waddling.
  3. Chestnut-breasted got its name not only for the color of the chest, but also for most of its body. It is easy to spot, so this species is very popular among hunters who want to feast on the delicious meat of the Crowned Bird. This demand has led to dire consequences: the species is threatened with extinction.

Breeding and nursing chicks, feeding

Plants and insects make up the bulk of the bird's diet. Living in the wild, the winged pecks with pleasure fruits and berries, seeds, grain, hunt snails and worms.In zoological gardens and private farms, such a pigeon is treated with grain mixtures, as well as "human food", they give chopped meat, milk, boiled eggs, cottage cheese, and moistened bread. Calcium must be supplied to the body in sufficient quantities.

A bird like the Crowned Pigeon has a special "pigeon fidelity". Having created a family, the dove and dove do not part until the death of one of the couple. And after that, the individual left alone will not look for a new companion. During the mating season, the male makes specific sounds similar to drumming. This is done in order to attract a future girlfriend. The one that bites first will become a life companion.

Autumn is the breeding season for crowned heads. The nests, located at a height of about 10 m above ground level, are twisted together by the pair: the male carries fern branches, and the female builds a “throne” for herself. The family incubates an egg (most often in a single copy) weighing 70 g for a little less than a month: the male - during the day, the female - at night. The couple is very responsible and conscientious about the matter. While one sits in the nest, the other flies in search of food, because at the age of 1.5 weeks the chick is already able to consume normal food instead of mother's milk. Already after the first month, the cub goes for food on its own, however, it can be considered an adult only at 2 years old.

Captive breeding

The domestication of this unusual bird by humans began at the beginning of the 19th century. Many poultry farmers are interested in the question, is it possible to breed this exotic bird at home? Cases of keeping a crowned bearer in private farms are rare, since these birds require certain conditions. Heat-loving pigeons, originally from hot countries, do not tolerate coolness. In addition, they need space, so aviaries should be equipped as spacious as possible.

Origin of the species and description

Photo: Crowned pigeon

The crowned pigeon is both a genus of birds and a specific species from the family of pigeons. These pigeons were discovered in 1819 and immediately caused a lot of controversy. The fact is that for a long time they could not be identified to any genus due to different phylogenetics, therefore, to this day, they are conditionally in a new genus of crowned pigeons.

There was a version that the species of crowned pigeons, as well as the maned and toothed-billed pigeon, are one branch, the closest relatives of which are the extinct dodo birds and hermits. But due to the unusual structure of DNA, crowned pigeons are still in a state of "uncertainty".

Video: Crowned pigeon

The problem also lies in the fact that for a long time the crowned pigeon was considered an artificially bred and feral species of pigeons. However, this theory has not been confirmed, although the pigeon has some external properties that indicate breeding.

Interesting fact: The dodo bird is the closest relative of all pigeons, including the gray city ones.

As a genus, the crowned pigeon contains three species, outwardly almost indistinguishable from each other:

  • fan-bearing crowned pigeon,
  • chestnut-breasted crowned pigeon,
  • crowned pigeon.

The selection of these species is based only on insignificant morphological differences. The main species criterion is the habitat of the pigeons. It has also been proven that these species are capable of interbreeding with each other, and their offspring are also fertile. This complicates the differentiation of individuals of the crowned pigeon.

Where does the crowned pigeon live?

Photo: Crowned pigeon in New Guinea

All crowned pigeons are endemic to New Guinea, that is, they are an integral part of the fauna of this area, inhabiting and breeding exclusively there.

Depending on the species, crowned pigeons live in different places.:

  • the crowned pigeon lives in New Guinea,
  • The fan-bearing crowned pigeon also settles on the territory of New Guinea, but rarely goes to the main island. Its main habitat is the islands of Biak and Yapen,
  • the south of New Guinea is inhabited by the chestnut-breasted crowned pigeon.

It is extremely rare for these pigeons to be found in the following places.:

  • Vogelkop peninsula,
  • Misso Islands,
  • Salavati island,
  • Selam Island,
  • Batanta,
  • Waiego Island.

Crowned pigeons are sedentary birds. They choose moist dense forests, swamps, flooded areas as places for resettlement. Pigeons do not like to climb to great heights, so the hills where they live reach a maximum height of 600 m above sea level.

Interesting fact: Crowned pigeons are revered by the locals as birds of the gods who are sent to protect people from wars. There really were no wars there.

Due to the fact that the locals treated the crowned pigeons with respect and calmness, the birds acquired a completely non-shy character. They willingly settle near human habitats, feeding near pastures and agricultural land.

Crowned pigeons are also bred at home, but this bird is demanding on living conditions. For example, as an aviary, you need to use a very large heated cage, which will be problematic to place in an apartment.

What does a crowned pigeon eat?

Photo: Fan-bearing crowned pigeon

In the wild, crowned pigeons are mainly herbivorous birds. They eat berries, fruits, short young grass, dig up roots and fruits. They feed exclusively on the ground, which also determines the peculiar way of life of these birds. Sometimes pigeons can feast on ground insects, worms or larvae, but the birds do not conduct purposeful hunting.

Zoos also keep crowned pigeons. For health, the birds feed her with papaya, which is rich in useful elements. A special food for birds of paradise is also used - it is surprisingly well received by crowned pigeons. Sprouted grains and mealworm larvae are considered very nutritious.

The diet of crowned pigeons kept at home must be approached with the utmost seriousness. Birds are sensitive and anxious, so you need to feed them in a variety of ways, taking into account the diet in the wild.

The diet of domestic pigeons should include:

  • grain mixtures - rye, millet, sunflower seeds, rice, corn, nuts, soybeans, peas, beans soaked in water.
  • shell snails to compensate for the lack of calcium,
  • meal worms,
  • raw small shrimps,
  • dried crickets,
  • crushed chicken egg shells along with boiled protein,
  • fat-free non-acidic cottage cheese,
  • small pieces of boiled poultry meat,
  • finely grated carrots,
  • fresh herbs,
  • white bread soaked in milk.

Features of character and lifestyle

Photo: Crowned pigeon

Crowned pigeons are diurnal, and they spend the whole day in search of food. They live in groups of 6-10 individuals, although sometimes there are flocks of up to 20 birds. Everyone in the flock is related, sometimes the flock may include crowned pigeons of different species.

There is no hierarchy in flocks of crowned pigeons. There are adults that form long-term pairs and live a little apart, while solitary pigeons and young animals walk in large groups. In the evening, birds climb onto tree branches higher from the ground, although sometimes they spend the night right on the ground in dense bushes. This behavior is typical mainly for pigeons living in swampy areas.

Crowned pigeons have almost no natural enemies. Because of this, they became gullible and good-natured in character, which is generally not typical for birds. Often they choose villages near humid forests for settlement, often go out to people. Crowned pigeons are curious and go to the video cameras themselves.

When the bird is in search of food, it does not rake the top layer of the earth with its paws and does not throw off fallen leaves and dry blades of grass. Instead, the pigeon simply pecks at what is in its field of vision.This behavior is justified by the fact that crowned pigeons have no food competitors, therefore, there is no need to strenuously search for food - it is always literally underfoot.

Social structure and reproduction

Photo: Bird crowned pigeon

The breeding season is in the fall, when heavy rains begin. Males begin to dance and chirp - make guttural sounds to attract females. Their dances are very beautiful: pigeons spread their wings and tails, revolve around themselves in place, trample the ground. Several males can group around the female, which will fly from place to place, trying to attract her attention.

Also, each male seeks to show the female that he will be a good father. Pigeons demonstrate what place they would choose for a nest, they carry twigs and leaves to the chosen one, which can be used to build a nest. By dancing and "thriftiness" the female chooses a partner for herself.

Interesting fact: Sometimes pigeons form pairs for several seasons. Sometimes these couples are so strong that if one partner loses the other, then he remains alone for the rest of his life.

After choosing a partner, the male and female crowned pigeons fly to the place where the nest will be - this is a wide thick branch on which it is convenient to stay with chicks. There, a couple sits and coo loudly to show everyone else in the pack that the place is taken. Sometimes the male has to drive away other pigeons who would also like to take this place.

By the middle of autumn, the nest was built - it is a large house of branches, fluff and leaves at a height of up to 10 meters above the ground. The female lays one egg in the nest, but rarely two. In case she laid two eggs, the second chick will most likely die.

The female sits on the egg at night, and flies away to feed on the ground during the day. During the day, she is replaced by a male. Since the birds are diurnal, the male significantly loses weight, since it feeds poorly at night and sometimes becomes a prey to predators. If the male or female dies, then the offspring will also perish.

After four weeks of incubation, a chick appears. This is a helpless creature that requires a lot of food, so the male and female begin to actively search for food together, bringing worms, seeds and fruits to the chick. After 40 days, the chick is already fully fledging and preparing for flight. As soon as it takes off, crowned pigeons relieve themselves of parental responsibilities.

Natural enemies of the crowned pigeon

Photo: What a crowned pigeon looks like

Crowned pigeons rarely encounter any predators. The main predator that poses a threat to these birds is the ermine. Stoats are not endemic to New Zealand - they were artificially introduced there to control the population of rabbits and hares, which multiplied uncontrollably on the islands. Stoats have coped with the decline in the rabbit population, but have also crippled many bird populations.

Before the ermine, there were no mammals in New Zealand, except for bats and marsupial wallabies, which posed no threat to crowned pigeons. Agile ermines hunt both at night and during the day, which greatly complicated the life of the pigeons.

In addition to hunting adults, ermines ravaged the nests of crowned pigeons, dragged off chicks and ate eggs. Gullible crowned pigeons were forced to learn to be vigilant and fearful. The ermine did not manage to seriously knock down the population of pigeons, but in many habitats they have become more fearful - they fly up on tree branches at the first hint of danger.

Introduced cats and dogs can also hunt pigeons that live near settlements. Such a pigeon is not difficult to catch: they are slow, trusting and take off with difficulty due to their large weight. However, it is difficult to get these birds on the trees: they patiently wait until the predator is completely removed from the field of view, and only after that they fly back to the ground with the whole flock.

Population and status of the species

Photo: Crowned pigeon

Crowned pigeons are not endangered. However, their numbers suffered for several reasons:

  • the meat of these birds is considered a delicacy. Because of this, pigeons are bred not only on dovecotes, but also on farms, from where they are later sold for feasts. It is not difficult to feed a crowned pigeon to a large size,
  • feathers are sold as decorative ornaments. Crowned pigeons have never been poached, but sometimes their feathers have been found on the black market.
  • the introduced predators hunted crowned pigeons without difficulty. These are dogs, cats and the aforementioned stoats,
  • the development of new territories destroys the natural habitat of crowned pigeons. Despite the fact that they easily adapt to life next to humans, they suffer from lack of food or due to food toxicity - this is a consequence of the treatment of agricultural fields with pesticides.

Despite all this, the crowned pigeon is a common bird in New Zealand. They are occasionally caught for placement in zoos or for breeder farms. A crowned pigeon can be bought by prior order for at least 60 thousand rubles. Pigeons require a spacious enclosure and excellent keeping conditions, but if all conditions are met, they will effectively reproduce and live up to twenty years.

Crowned pigeon - incredibly handsome and good-natured. You can meet these birds not only in New Zealand, but also in many zoos, where curious birds feel comfortable and willingly come into contact with people.

Crowned pigeon: royal person

Some birds have been made special by nature. Their appearance differs from the rest of their tribesmen and stands out for their brightness and beauty.

As if mother nature decided that these birds should become royalty among all birds and therefore awarded them with a "crown".

The birds even got the appropriate names: with the prefix "crowned". The crowned pigeon is one such bird.

Fan-bearing crowned pigeon (Goura victoria).

There is in nature a crowned eagle, a crowned crane (for your information - the national bird of Uganda), but has anyone heard of a crowned pigeon? Not? Meanwhile - this is an incredibly beautiful bird!

What is special about the appearance of a crowned pigeon?

Everything in this bird is beautiful: from the "crown" to the tail. On the head of the pigeon there is a fan of the finest feathers ending in "tassels". The body, in its upper part, is painted in a bluish or deep blue tone. The lower part of the body is brown in plumage.

A group of crowned pigeons in the forest.

The tail is rather long, and at the end of it there is a light transverse stripe. The same "markings" in the form of transverse patterns are present on the wings of a crowned pigeon.

In what part of the world can you meet a crowned pigeon?

Nature arranged it so that fan-bearing crowned pigeons are endemic to New Guinea, i.e. the population of these birds lives only in this area.

What does a crowned pigeon eat, and what kind of life does it lead

These birds are considered one of the rarest species on the planet. Their population is endangered. They lead a cautious lifestyle and try to keep in groups of several individuals in order to warn each other about danger.

Crowned pigeons live among swampy forests, they are still found in areas where sago palms grow. Crowned pigeons are not migratory birds and are sedentary all the time.

Crowned pigeons are sedentary.

The food of fan-bearing crowned pigeons consists of plant foods. They find it on the ground in the form of fallen seeds, fruits and berries.

What is known about the breeding of fan-bearing crowned pigeons

The mating season for this species of birds begins with the arrival of the autumn season in the region of their residence.To breed chicks, a pair of crowned pigeons builds a large nest at a height that is enormous from the ground: from six to ten meters.

In one breeding season, crowned pigeons breed only one, very rarely two, chicks.

Both parents take turns incubating a single egg. In this case, the female sits on the nest at night, and the male incubates during the daytime.

The process of hatching a chick lasts a little less than a month (28 days). After the baby is born, the parents feed him for about 30 - 40 days, after which the chick of the crowned pigeon begins an independent life.

Crowned pigeon and man

Speaking about the threat of extinction of these birds from our planet, one cannot fail to say that it was not who else but man who influenced it. It was people who, hunting for the beautiful feathers of crowned pigeons, exterminated almost the entire population, which already lived only in one point of the globe and was vulnerable.

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