Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

White-headed Pigeon (Columba leucomela)


Taxonomy

French: Pigeon leucomèle German: Weißbrusttaube Spanish: Paloma blanquinegra
Taxonomy:

Columba leucomela

Temminck

, 1821,

south Queensland, Australia

.

Most closely allied to C. vitiensis. Belongs to a group of dark-coloured, iridescent Asian and Australasian forms, including C. janthina, †C. versicolor, †C. jouyi and C. vitiensis; C. pallidiceps may also be related. Long known as C. norfolciensis, based only on a dubious description; however, an 18th century watercolour “discovered” in 1953 showed that this name more probably applied to another bird that occurred on Norfolk I at that time, possibly Chalcophaps longirostris; the name is almost certainly unidentifiable, and has now been formally suppressed#R#R#R. Monotypic.

Distribution:

E Australia, from Cooktown (Queensland) to Eden (New South Wales) and less frequently SE Victoria, in coastal regions and adjacent highlands.

Descriptive notes

38–42 cm; c. 420 g. Head, neck, breast and belly white, sometimes with buffy tinge, becoming slate grey on flanks, vent and undertail-coverts; upperparts slate black... read more

Voice

Advertising call a double note repeated at intervals. The first note is an emphasized short hoot,... read more

Habitat

Rain forest A bird perched on a branch., gallery forest and sometimes open country with... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds on fruits and seeds. Has a muscular gizzard capable of digesting hard seeds. Relatively few data on diet: important plant families... read more

Breeding

Season apparently extended, based on limited data. At least 2 successive broods are sometimes reared in the same nest. Nest is flimsy... read more

Movements

Nomadic, in response to fruit availability. Little detailed information, but species may disappear... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Formerly shot in great numbers, species was protected from hunting in 1950s. Although never abundant, numbers appear to have increased since 1940s,... read more

Recommended citation

Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M. & Boesman, P. (2018). White-headed Pigeon (Columba leucomela). 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 https://www.hbw.com/node/54124 on 25 April 2018).