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11

Crested Pigeon

(Ocyphaps lophotes)
Alternate name(s): "Crested Bronzewing"; MISNOMER: "Toppy" (="Top-knot Pigeon"*)
Aboriginal name(s): Race "lophotes": "gulawuliil" [yuwaalaraay], "warakoota";
Race "whitlocki": "kakara" (WA)

Size: 31-35 cm
Weight: 205 g (average)
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Crested Pigeon at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "lophotes"

ADULT

Near-frontal view of a Crested Pigeon
[Narrabri Lake, 2010]

Near-frontal view of a Crested Pigeon feeding on the ground
[Narrabri Lake, 2010]

Lateral view of a Crested Pigeon feeding on a lawn in an urban park
[Walgett, NSW, September 2012]

Lateral view of a Crested Pigeon; note how here the speculum shows a spectrum of colours...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2009]

... while here the Crested Pigeon's speculum remains inconspicuous
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2012]

Close-up lateral view of a Crested Pigeon
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2011]

Close-up lateral portrait of a Crested Pigeon
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2008]

Dorsal view of a Crested Pigeon snoozing on a fence gate
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2013]

Dorsal view of a Crested Pigeon in better light conditions (photo courtesy of B. Kinross)
[Beachmere, QLD, September 2014]

Pair of Crested Pigeons on the ground
[Eulah Creek, NSW, March 2012]

Pair of Crested Pigeons resting in the shade (photo courtesy of M. Windeyer)
[Gilgandra, NSW, January 2014]

Pair of Crested Pigeons seen preening (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, October 2013]

Size comparison between a Crested Pigeon and a Peaceful Dove
[Eulah Creek, NSW, June 2012]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Family of Crested Pigeons roosting in a eucalypt tree; two dependent juveniles in the middle are sheltered by their parents
[Eulah Creek, NSW, January 2009]

Race "whitlocki"

ADULT

Near-frontal view of a Crested Pigeon (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Broome, WA, April 2015]

Near-frontal view of a Crested Pigeon (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Broome, WA, April 2015]

Lateral view of a Crested Pigeon (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Broome, WA, April 2015]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Aug - Jan Eggs: 2 Incubation period: 18 - 20 days Fledging age: 21 days

Given the right conditions, Crested Pigeons can breed any time of the year.

Additional information

A. Morris reports that Crested Pigeons like to take advantage of the protection offered by nesting under a Grey Butcherbird nest. There is now a separate page about various bird species nesting under the umbrella of a stronger, protective species.

Crested Pigeon chick that was rescued after it, together with its nest, came down in high winds in September 2011; the chick, in a cardboard box containing the sad remains of the nest, was placed back in the tree where it had come from and business continued as usual; photo courtesy of R. Druce

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Visitors from Arabia and India:
If you are looking for a pigeon's nest, you may want to check out the nest of a Laughing Dove found by us in Oman.

Type: Rudimentary basket Material: Twigs Height above ground: 1 - 6 m

In March/April 2006, quite late in the season, when the nights were already chilly (around 5 C), a pair of Crested Pigeons had their nest in a Californian pepper tree at our neighbour's place, 20 km south of Narrabri. This must have been the pair's second brood of the season, with their first hatching in early spring.

View of a Crested Pigeon's nest that, considering that it is a pigeon's, is looking pretty solid
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2011]

Crested Pigeon on its nest, in the same tree as a year before (above)
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, November 2012]

Crested Pigeon on its nest of twigs, lined with feathers
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, April 2006]

Portrait of a Crested Pigeon on its nest
[20 km South of Narrabri, NSW, April 2006]

Crested Pigeon chick in its nest (photo courtesy of R. Druce)

Crested Pigeon's nest with two eggs in it
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2006]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 31 x 23 mm Colour: White Shape: Tapered oval

Photo of a Crested Pigeon's nest with a close-up view of the two eggs in it
[Eulah Creek, NSW, November 2006]

The day after the photo was taken the eggs were gone, fallen prey to a Pied Currawong's appetite.

Another potential source of loss for Crested Pigeons: Goannas
[Eulah Creek, NSW, December 2012]

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Dispersive Elementary unit: Pair/small flock

When nesting Crested Pigeons don't mind close proximity to humans. The nest shown above was at a height of about 2 m in a tree right next to our neighbour's driveway. It was built in a tree with dense foliage and a multitude of branches, which is typical for Crested Pigeons. Approaching the nest for a close-range photo was no problem at all; the bird on the nest did not let itself be disturbed.

Males put up displays for the females they are courting from conspicuous places, such as fenceposts.

Male Crested Pigeon displaying its plumage to impress a female (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, September 2014]

Male Crested Pigeon displaying its plumage to impress a female; since he is not posing for the camera, but the female, the "wrong" side is shown here...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2010]

Sometimes there is courtship competition...

Like other species of doves and pigeons, Crested Pigeons are seen to lift one of their wings occasionally, possibly for evaporative cooling.

Crested Pigeon lifting one of its wings; photo courtesy of C. Kellenberg

Pair of Crested Pigeons both lifting a wing
[Eulah Creek, NSW, May 2011]

You scratch my back...
[Near Narrabri, NSW, 2004]

... I scratch yours!
[Near Narrabri, NSW, 2004]

Food, Diet

Adults: Seeds Dependents: Regurgitated seeds Water intake: Daily

All pigeons and doves are strictly vegetarian. Crested Pigeons are seed-eaters.

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

crpige_20140411_2.mp3 lophotes
(NW NSW)
Contact call © MD
crpige_20140310.mp3 lophotes
(NW NSW)
Wooing call © MD
crpige_20140423.mp3 lophotes
(NW NSW)
Wooing call © MD
crpige_art_20131121.mp3 lophotes
(SE QLD)
Display call © ART

We have also recorded the typical "whirring" wing beat of a Crested Pigeon.

crpige_20150415.mp3 lophotes
(NW NSW)
Straight level flight © MD
crpige_20140627.mp3 lophotes
(NW NSW)
Passing by © MD
crpige_20140423_3.mp3 lophotes
(NW NSW)
Arrival © MD
crpige_20150808.mp3 lophotes
(NW NSW)
Male's arrival & wooing © MD
crpige_20140423_2.mp3 lophotes
(NW NSW)
Departure © MD
crpige_20140423_4.mp3 lophotes
(NW NSW)
Short flutter © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site?
If interested, please CLICK HERE. Credits to contributors are given HERE.