Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon (Columba delegorguei)


French: Pigeon de Delegorgue German: Bronzehalstaube Spanish: Paloma de Delegorgue
Other common names: Delegorgue's Pigeon, Bronze-naped Pigeon (when lumped with C. iriditorques and C. malherbii)

Columba Delegorguei


, 1847,

Durban, Natal


Sometimes considered conspecific with C. iriditorques and C. malherbii, and all three occasionally placed in a subgenus Turturoena. However, present species is distinct from C. iriditorques on account of much larger size (at least 1); splodgy white nape-patch vs broad neat golden hindcollar (3); all-dark tail vs outertail broadly tipped white, with inner vanes of undertail rusty (3); darker (blackish vs bluish-dark grey) upperparts (ns[2]); smaller grey throat-patch (ns[2]); underparts shading from dirty greyish-pink to ochre-tinged grey and greyish-ochre vent vs uniform greyish-pink with rustier vent (3). It is distinct from C. malherbii on account of underparts shading from dirty greyish-pink to ochre-tinged grey and greyish-ochre vent vs continuous grey from throat to lower belly, vent purer ochre (3); tail much darker above and below (ns[2]); splodgy white nape-patch vs all green-glossed nape-patch extending further onto mantle (3); female with rusty hindcrown lacking in female malherbii (3); female with much duskier breast and belly than more ochre-tinged female malherbii, which has pure ochre undertail-coverts (ns[3]). Work is needed to clarify the status of the relatively distinctive form sharpei, which has a green-glossed vs amethyst-glossed nape and mantle and greenish-black vs dull russet-brown mantle, scapulars and wing-coverts (these green-biased features perhaps best combined as a single major character); a zone of intergradation exists in Malawi, where specimens sharing characters of each taxon have been collected on Mt Thyolo (material in NHMUK). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. d. sharpei (Salvadori, 1893) – Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon – SE South Sudan through Uganda and Kenya to Tanzania (including Zanzibar).
  • C. d. delegorguei Delegorgue, 1847 – Southern Bronze-naped Pigeon – E Zimbabwe and Mozambique (Mt Gorongoza) to South Africa (Transkei and E Griqualand to Natal and W Zululand); probably extinct in Malawi (Mt Thyolo)#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    33 cm; male 136–175 g, female 133–154 g. Forehead and face dark slaty grey, crown slightly iridescent; nape and neck iridescent pink, green, mauve or amethyst... read more


    Advertising call is a rather complex rhythmic phrase starting with a couple of subdued hoots... read more


    A canopy species occupying lowland evergreen and adjacent riparian woodland. It also occurs locally... read more

    Food and feeding

    Primarily a fruit-eater but also takes berries of Trema orientalis, some seeds, insect larvae and nymphs of cicadas; fruits taken... read more


    Mar–Jun and Dec in Uganda; Nov in Malawi; Jan in Zimbabwe; Nov–Apr in South ­Africa. Nests is a platform of twigs placed 7... read more


    In one study in Kenya, species present on every census day in Mar and Apr but absent after May,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common in E Africa; common in mountains of Sudan.  It seems to be spreading in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. In... read more

    Recommended citation

    Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Boesman, P. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon (Columba delegorguei). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 14 December 2019).