Crested Pigeon

The Crested Pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes) is the only grey pigeon in Australia, with a slender, dark grey crest. The head and underparts are pale grey, and wing coverts are strongly darkly barred whilst the secondary wing feathers bronzed iridescent green, violet, and gold colours, edged with white. The orbital eye ring is a deep pink/red, as are its feet and legs, and the iris is orange.

The pigeon was formerly a bird of the inland but it has expanded coastwards favouring lightly wooded grasslands as it is predominantly a seed eater. Hence they have followed the cultivation of areas the availability of grain.

Crested pigeons are usually seen in pairs and groups, but large flocks frequent cropping districts and also areas of exotic plants e.g. Salvation Jane (Echium lycopis) which provides are large portion of their seed diet in South Australia.

They are commonly seen at Urrbrae Wetland on the roads and tracks, picking up seeds of acacias, grasses and occasionally insects. They breed mainly from spring to summer. Their nest is a very frail platform of twigs with usually two eggs. Several breeding records have been noted at Urrbrae Wetland in the tall eucalypts near Hodson Jetty.

The pigeon's swift flight is easy recognised by its bursts of noisy rapid wingbeats and flat-winged glides. It courtship bowing display is typical of bronze-winged pigeons and very pretty to watch. The pigeon has a habit of tipping its tail vertically on alighting. (Contributed by Jo G and Wen-Ai.)