Victoria Crowned Pigeon – Goura victoria

The birds originated in the tropical lowland forests of the   north coast of Papua New Guinea, particularly Madang and   Astrolabe Bay, the Sepik Basin and Collingwood Bay—as well   as surrounding islands—where they are usually found at or   near sea level but may venture up hills to 600 metres.   They are the largest living pigeon and the closest relative to   the extinct dodo bird, growing to 73–75 cm long   and can weigh up to 3.5 kilograms.    

The birds are docile by nature and easy to tame; able to live   twenty-five years in captivity with good care. They are happiest   in pairs, roaming freely together or in small parties, and they   like plenty of space and foraging for food on the ground.   Whilst able to fly short distances they will only fly when   necessary, usually when startled, in danger, or in need of a high   roost, usually 10–25 m above the ground, in the trees for the   night. Their diet consists mainly of fallen fruits (including figs), seeds, grains and small invertebrates, including insects.    

Victoria Crowned Pigeons are a monomorphic species, with males only slightly larger than females and both similar in   appearance. When defending their territories, they make deep ‘whooping’ sounds, i.e. whup-up, whup-up, whup-up, which can be loud and surprising.    

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The male pigeons have an elaborate courtship dance, and their mating call consists of a deep hoota-hoota-hootahoota-   hoota sound, similar to the other two species of   crowned pigeons. Both the male and female incubate up to   three eggs each year, which take around a month to hatch,   and then raise the young squabs.    

Previously hunted for their meat and feathers, the species   are now only common in remote areas. Due to hunting and   habitat destruction, the wild population declined rapidly,  endangering the species to near extinction. Deforestation of   its natural environment still occurs, but Goura victoria remain   protected under PNG Legislation, and has improved from   being a ‘threatened’ species to ‘near threatened’.  

 

Roy

Worked for Burns Philp in Popondetta and Port Moresby from 1980 through 1987

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