Breed Of The Week - The Victoria Crowned Pigeon - Part 1
Victoria Crowned Pigeon - Goura Victoria
The Victoria Crowned Pigeon is one of the largest living species of pigeons. Victoria Crowned Pigeons are approximately 28-30 inches long and weigh up to 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds). They are roughly the size of an adult hen turkey. The extinct Dodo was also a member of the pigeon family and was believed to weigh around 14 kilograms (a bit more than 30 pounds!). Victoria Crowned Pigeons are a bluish-grey bird with lovely lace-like crests. They have a maroon colored breast and very red irises. The Victoria Crowned Pigeon has white tips on the head crest. Males and females are similar in appearance with the male ususually being somewhat larger in size.
Aside from their magnificent crests, Victoria Crowned Pigeons differ from other pigeons in having sixteen instead of twelve tail feathers, in the scaling of the legs, and in lacking an oil gland and gall bladder.
Victoria Crowned Pigeons make very unusual sounds. The calling of the male to the hen can only be described as a series of prolonged "moos," similar to someone blowing across an empty, wide-mouthed bottle. The courtship and display is somewhat like a "booming boom-pa."
RANGE, HABITAT, AND DIET
Victoria Crowned Pigeons are native to northern New Guinea and are found in the wild only in New Guinea and some smaller offshore islands. They are found in lowland and swamp forest areas.
Victoria Crowned Pigeons forage the forest floor for fruit, seeds, and snails. At night they roost in flocks. They begin their day with a chorus of calls before the flock sets out to feed and drink. They return to their roosting place where they stay during the hottest part of the day. In the afternoon they set out again for food and water and finally return to their roosting spot for the night.
COURTSHIP AND NESTING
The adult male, in true pigeon fashion, bows up and down. The tail movement is similar to other pigeons. Both adults nod to each other and "billing" occurs, typical of all pigeons. The male feeds the hen before copulation occurs.
Nests are placed in shrubs and trees relatively close to the ground. These birds prefer tall hedges and thickets to woodlands. The male chooses a nesting site and gathers twigs, roots, and other materials which are used by the female in building the nest. Victoria Crowned Pigeons are monogamous and mate for life.
Though there can be two eggs in a clutch, the typical clutch size is a single white egg with a bluish tinge. Both parents share the incubation duties for approximately 28-30 days. The young fledge at about 4 weeks of age but are not completely weaned until as late as 3-5 months of age.
An Adult with chick:
The Victoria Crowned Pigeon - Part 2
OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTS
I have no personal experience with these big and beautiful pigeons having only seen them a few times in a zoo environment. I would truly love to have a pair of them, but they are cost and space prohibitive. I have read that a single Victoria Crowned pigeon would cost from $2,000.00 up to $7,500.00. They are quite rare in the U.S., and it is difficult to find one even if you have the money.
They require a lot of space, and it is recommended that a minimum of 10' x 20' enclosure is necessary for a single pair.
Due to hunting, trapping for illegal sale, and loss of habitat Victoria Crowned Pigeons are considered a Vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and are listed in CITES Appendix II.
There are many, many websites where you can find information about and photos of Victoria Crowned Pigeons. Just do a Google search for them.
Here's a few links to get you started:
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