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

The Bar-shouldered Dove is a native to Australia.  It inhabits the wetter forests and woodlands, and vegetation along creeks and rivers.  It ranges across northern and eastern Australia, but has declined in numbers since the introduction of the Spotted Turtle-Dove.  Its slender build, brown upperparts, with distinct black edging to each feather, russet nape, grey face and throat and pale underparts, sh...
Common Bronzewing

Common Bronzewing

The Common Bronzewing is found in all but the most arid areas and densest rainforests, and is one of the most abundant of Australia’s pigeons.  When observed it is normally in small parties, feeding on the ground on seeds.  It is a very wary pigeon, and seldom allows close approach.  If startled it flies strongly and directly.  Birds are seldom found far from water, and the small groups will drink...
Crested Pigeon

Crested Pigeon

This native pigeon is common in much of mainland Australia.  The Crested Pigeon may be found in any habitat, with the exception of the denser forests and wetter coastal areas, but is seldom far from water.  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 ...
Diamond Dove

Diamond Dove

This slender dove is Australia’s smallest (19 to 21 cm) 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 G. placida ...
Rock Dove

Rock Dove

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 by the Egyptians, over 6000 years ago.  While there is no real indication as to when the species was introduced into Australia, large numbers of birds have been documented since the early to mid n...

White-quilled Rock-Pigeon

Petrophassa albipennis This plump, medium-large (28-30 cm) endemic pigeon inhabits the rocky sandstone and limestone escarpments and boulders of the WA and NT, in a broad band from the western Kimberley coast to central northern NT, where it is mostly ground-dwelling, feeding on seeds. There are two subspecies currently recognised. Both share the mottled dull brown plumage, each feather having...