Animal Facts

Nicobar Pigeon

Scientific Name: Caloenas nicobarica

Fast Fact:

Nicobar pigeons travel in flocks from island to island, roosting and nesting on small, uninhabited islands to keep safe from predators.

Nicobar Pigeon

This bird is a large, iridescent pigeon from Indonesia.

STATUS: The Nicobar pigeon is listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to habitat loss, hunting, the pet trade, and the introduction of non-native species like cats and rats to their breeding islands.

HABITAT: This is a widespread species occurring on many islands in the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans from the Philippines to New Guinea.

DIET: These birds dine on seeds, grain, berries, and insects. Nicobar pigeons usually feed on the ground in flocks.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: The body shape of these birds is typical for pigeons‒ a chunky body and a relatively small head. Their total body length is about 16 inches. These pigeons possess feathers that are iridescent, predominantly dark green with a copper sheen. While they seem rather drab when seen in the shade, with the bright colors only visible in sunlight. There are long neck feathers, called hackles, which give the birds a very ornate look. Sexes are similar; males are slightly larger and have a larger knob at the base of the beak.

Pigeon Particulars

Nicobar pigeons roost and nest on small uninhabited islands and fly in large flocks to larger islands and the mainland to find food. Unlike most pigeons that fly in loose flocks, Nicobars fly in columns or single file. To drink, most birds get a beakful of water and then tilt the head up so the water can flow down the throat. Pigeons are able to suck up water directly, just like we suck soda with a straw.

At the beginning of the breeding season, the males follow a typical pigeon courtship pattern. The males coo loudly and display for the females, eventually appearing to bow before her. Pairs mate for life. The male selects a nest site in a tree and begins to gather sticks and other nesting material which the female arranges into a nest. Usually there is single bluish-white egg that hatches after about two weeks. Both parents share incubation duties. The chick is naked and must be kept warm for the next ten days until the feathers grow in. It will be ready to fledge four weeks after hatching, but usually remains in the nest for a while before leaving. Both parents feed the chick “crop milk” composed of cells from the parent’s crop, or neck pouch.

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