Pairs of crested pigeons are very affectionate spending long periods preening each other which not only keeps the feathers clean but strengthens the pair bond. Phtoto: Contributed.
Pairs of crested pigeons are very affectionate spending long periods preening each other which not only keeps the feathers clean but strengthens the pair bond. Phtoto: Contributed.

Crested pigeons put on an amazing courtship display

A common bird in suburban areas the crested pigeon is often overlooked but its handsome features are worth a second look.

The crested pigeon has a conspicuous thin black crest and most of the plumage is grey brown, becoming pinker on the underparts.

The wings are barred with black, and are decorated with glossy green and purple patches.

The head is grey, with a pinkish-red ring around the eye and it has bright red legs and feet.

If startled, this pigeon takes to the air with a characteristic whistling flight, and glides with down turned wings.

Upon landing it flicks its tail up like a salute.

It feeds mostly on native seeds, as well as those of introduced crops and weeds.

Some leaves and insects are also eaten. Feeding is in small to large groups, which also congregate to drink at waterholes.

Birds arrive in nearby trees, and often sit for long periods before descending to drink.

Drinking and feeding are most common in the morning and evening.

Pairs are very affectionate spending long periods preening each other which not only keeps the feathers clean but strengthens the pair bond.

During the courting period the male fluffs up his breast feathers, spreads its wings to show off the green and purple patches, raises and fans out its tail and bobs up and down in a very impressive display.

If receptive she flattens her body while he walks in circles around her before mating.

You can watch a video of this amazing ritual on YouTube here.

They build a rough platform of twigs for a nest, quite low to the ground, and both sexes share parental duties.

The best way to attract this bird to your garden is to put out clean water in a bird bath.

Allan Briggs is the secretary of BirdLife Capricornia - contact him with your bird questions at abriggs@irock.com.au



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