Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-bellied Spinifex Pigeon (Geophaps ferruginea)


French: Colombine ferrugineuse German: Rostschopftaube Spanish: Paloma plumífera herrumbrosa
Other common names: Rufous-bellied Plumed-pigeon

Lophophaps ferruginea


, 1865,

Pilbara region of Western Australia


Along with G. plumifera sometimes isolated in genus Lophophaps. Has normally been treated as conspecific with G. plumifera but present species shows no distinct narrow white band across mid-belly above narrow grey-and-black band (2), no broad white belly patch (3), and chestnut vs rufous mid-crown to hindcrown, dorsal scaling, rump to uppertail and inner webs of primaries (2); a narrow zone of intergradation exists around the Fitzroy R#R (2). Some authors have considered the variation as referring to colour morphs. Population between Kimberleys and Great Sandy Desert described as race mungi, supposedly somewhat less reddish below than individuals to SW, but considered very poorly differentiated. Monotypic.


W Western Australia from De Grey R S to Gascoyne R and E to Carnarvon Range; isolated population of intergrades in W Kimberley (E to Camballin).

Descriptive notes

20–22 cm; wingspan 30–35 cm. Thin, erect crest, with red-brown crown, blue-grey forehead, white chin and face-stripe, black throat, rich red-brown back, rump, tail and wings... read more


Does not apparently differ from G. plumifera, although some authors have suggested that... read more


Like G. plumifera is typical of arid grassland dominated by tussock-forming spinifex... read more

Food and feeding

Almost entirely granivorous; one study in Western Australia reported seeds of Poaceae (Sporobolus australasicus, Triodia... read more


Most aspects probably similar to G. plumifera (which see). Can breed year-round, but most nesting is apparently in spring and... read more


One of the few birds of Australian arid zone that is largely sedentary, undertaking only local... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Still common to abundant throughout much of its remote and arid range. Habitat destruction is a less serious concern than for many Australian pigeons... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Rufous-bellied Spinifex Pigeon (Geophaps ferruginea). 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 12 December 2019).