Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

White-bellied Spinifex Pigeon (Geophaps plumifera)


French: Colombine plumifère German: Rotschopftaube Spanish: Paloma plumífera ventriblanca
Other common names: White-bellied Plumed-pigeon, Spinifex Pigeon (when lumped with G. ferruginea)

Geophaps plumifera


, 1842,

Northern Territory, Australia


Along with G. ferruginea sometimes isolated in genus Lophophaps. Has normally been treated as conspecific with G. ferruginea; indeed, some authors have considered the variation as referring to colour morphs. Present species shows a distinct narrow white band across mid-belly above narrow grey-and-black band (2), a broad white belly patch (3), and rufous vs chestnut 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). Proposed race proxima (SW Kimberley region of Western Australia) is intermediate between nominate race of present species and N population of G. ferruginea#R. Two subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. p. plumifera Gould, 1842 – Western Australia from Edgar Range through Kimberley region into W Northern Territory (E to Top Springs).
  • G. p. leucogaster (Gould, 1867) – C & E Australia from Petermann Ranges NE to base of Cape York Peninsula, and from McArthur R and Banka Banka S to L Frome (CE South Australia).
  • Descriptive notes

    20–24 cm; male 73–130 g, female 70–110 g; wingspan 30–35 cm. Head and neck pale brown to rufous-brown, with bold facial markings; black supercilium... read more


    Gives a soft, high-pitched “coo” or “cooloo-coo”, with last syllable loud, clear and slightly... read more


    Typically found in arid grassland dominated by tussock-forming spinifex grasses of the genera ... read more

    Food and feeding

    Almost entirely granivorous, with only very small quantities of insects taken; in one study, herb seeds formed 55% of diet by volume,... read more


    Can breed year-round and nests found in most months, but most nesting apparently in spring and early summer (e.g. Aug in Western Australia... read more


    One of the few birds of the 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

    Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). White-bellied Spinifex Pigeon (Geophaps plumifera). 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 30 March 2020).