Pigeons & Doves

There are several groups of Australian pigeons including the colourful fruit-doves and partridge-like ground pigeons, all are generally plump, rounded birds with rapid flight. Within Australia the family consists of 36 recorded species, including 15 endemics, 10 wider-ranging natives, 5 vagrants, 4 introduced and 2 that have extinct Australian subspecies (Lord Howe White-throated Pigeon Columba vitiensis godmanae and Norfolk Island New Zealand Pigeon Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae spadica).

Scientifically, there is no distinction between pigeons and doves.  In most cases the word dove, which is Anglo Saxon in origin, is applied to the smaller species, while pigeon, which is a French word, from the Latin Pipionis, meaning a young chirping bird, is applied to the larger species.  This is not a steadfast rule however.

Scientific name: Columbidae (family)

Bar-shouldered Dove

Bar-shouldered Dove

What does it look like? Its slender build, brown upperparts, with distinct black edging to each feather, russet nape, grey face and throat and pale underparts, should easily identify it.  Where does it live? The Bar-shouldered Dove is a native to Australia. What are its habitats and habits?   It inhabits the wetter forests and woodlands, and vegetation along creeks and rivers.  It ranges ac...
Common Bronzewing

Common Bronzewing

What does it look and sound like? The Common Bronzewing can be identified by its pinkish-grey breast and paler brown back, with iridescent patches of green, blue and red in the wing, and conspicuous white line below and around the eye.  The male has a yellow-white forehead and darker pink breast. The related Brush Bronzewing, which is found in southern Australia, is smaller and has more chestnut-coloured h...
Crested Pigeon

Crested Pigeon

What does it look like?  There are only two Australian pigeon species that possess a crest.  The Spinifex Pigeon is markedly smaller, with cinnamon coloured plumage and a bright red facial patch.  The Crested Pigeon is a robust, soft pink and grey pigeon, with a long black crest, with a small pinkish-red ring around the eye.  If startled it takes to the air with a characteristic whistling flight, and...
Diamond Dove

Diamond Dove

What does it look like? This slender dove is Australia’s smallest and is named after the numerous small white spots on its wings. The remainder of its plumage is bluish-grey on the head, neck and breast, cream on the belly and grey-brown on the back, wings and long thin tail. It has a conspicuous orange-red eye-ring which further distinguishes it from the superficially similar Peaceful Dove Geopelia p...
Rock Dove

Rock Dove

What does it look like? Robust, moderately large pigeon, with much colour variation, although is most commonly a mixture on pale and dark greys or pale browns. Legs are coral pink. Where does it live? The Rock Dove, Feral or Street Pigeon, is found in close association with human settlement throughout much of the world.  This association dates back through the centuries, when they were domesticated ...