Thursday, July 23, 2009

Caloenas nicobarica


I had so many comments on my Nicobar Pigeon (Caloenas nicobarica) photo that I thought it would be fun to dig a little deeper. My only experience with him was in a Minnesota aviary so I decided to do a little bit of research. This is a summary of what I have found.

Besides the Nicobar Pigeon’s beautiful coloring, these unusual birds are considered to be the closest living relative of the dodo.

Named for the Nicobar Islands, their favored locals are Burma, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Thailand and Vietnam.

These pigeons live in large flocks that travel around from island to island and the mainland south-east Asia looking for seeds, fruit and insects which is their preferred diet. It builds a loose stick nests in trees (which is what the one I photographed is doing). Their eggs are elliptical faintly blue-tinged white eggs, usually two in a clutch.

During breeding periods they tend to prefer very small, wooded, offshore islands that are mostly uninhabited. These pigeons are slowly going the way of the dodo due to the fact that more and more of these islands are becoming hosts to plantations. When the land is cleared and new predators are introduced the pigeons threat level is greatly increased. I can’t imagine trapping these beautiful pigeons for food but people do and their gizzard stone is used for jewelry. As you can probably guess these pigeons are also trapped to be sold as pets.

Though on the ICUN list reported the Nicobar Pigeon as ‘near threatened’ they are still often observed in the Similan Islands, but never seen in Minnesota…unless you visit an aviary.


  1. Such beautiful birds! But beauty in the animal kingdom is a hazard when there are people around, sadly. Animal skins, bird feathers, ivory tusks. We're nasty as a species, aren't we?

    I saw a reproduction of a dodo in a natural history museum a while ago. It was very good, and quite stunning to look at. It was like being face to face with history, even though it was just a model.

  2. We consume until there is nothing left. Sad, I agree. The Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC is vast and quite the experience if you are ever in that area, not to be missed. It is exspansive so plan on spending a large part of the day there if you get a chance to go.




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