Crested Pigeon

We don’t always look closely at common birds and some of them are beautiful; I think Crested Pigeons fall into this category.


Crested Pigeon 1 - Kim Wormald

Crested Pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes)
Canon 7DII, 1/800, f/5.6, ISO 800, focal length 400mm

Along with having one of the strangest scientific names I’ve seen, Crested Pigeons have lovely plumage. Much of their colouring is a soft blue-grey-brown blushed with pink. Their wings are barred with black and have iridescent patches that glow depending on the angle of light. Their legs and feet are bright red, a tiny part of leg can be seen in the image above. And most striking of all is the pigeon’s head with its long, thin crest and bright orange eye surrounded with bare reddish skin.

Crested Pigeons are relatively common across most of Australia, excluding Tasmania; they are about 33cm long and weigh approximately 200g.


Crested Pigeon 2 - Kim Wormald

Crested Pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes)
Canon 7DII, 1/800, f/5.6, ISO 800, focal length 300mm


When Crested Pigeons take off their wings make a magical whistling sound which is created by air passing a specially modified wing feather. They characteristically lift their tails when they land as if balancing their sturdy little bodies. I was pleased with the way the shrub in the background provided a kind of halo for the pigeon’s head and crest.

This pigeon moved gradually towards me as it foraged, it was focussing on seeds but also took a couple of insects. The expression on its face makes me smile, I guess it’s not often it comes across someone flat out on the ground taking photographs.

Happy birding, Kim


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10 comments to Crested Pigeon

  • John Bond

    The usual brilliant work, Kim. Bit of a ‘recent arrival’, this species. Prior to their turning up in the Yarra Valley about 20 (?) years ago, remember Kyabram as my previous sighting. There are a resident flock at the Council Depot, Nelson Rd Lilydale. Gotta love that trademark ‘tipping forward’ after landing! Best wishes, JB.

    • lirralirra

      Isn’t it interesting to be in a place long enough to know the comings and goings of different birds. Well, it’s not so good to see the ‘goings’. I’ve seen lots of ‘goings’ here along with a few new ones coming in. Last winter was the first year I haven’t seen Scarlet Robins, I hope they come next year, they are my favourite part of winter.

  • Carole King

    Lovely photos Kim.
    One of my favourite birds.

  • I too love them.
    Common they may be, but they are not ordinary.
    I love the whirrr when they take off too.
    Subtle charmers.

  • Paul Huckett

    Once again, super photos ! I love these pigeons as we have quite a few pair that live around our home so I get to study them at length through binos. We have two acres of bush garden, inside 16 acres of regenerating grassland and Grey Box woodland .Plenty of room for breeding pairs. I have one pair not 3 metres from our back door, raising the second lot of nestlings this years . They’re hidden in a creeper on a fence 2 metres above a water bowl for birds dug into the ground under a tap and visited by magpies, noisy miners, both types of pardalote, fairy wrens, thornbills, 4 or 5 types of honeyeaters, and various skinks and probably an Eastern Brown or two !! All quite oblivious to the nesting above . Even the ravens and butcherbirds haven’t found this nest . We live near Numurkah in nth Vic

    • lirralirra

      Hi Paul, this is the second time this week that I’ve heard about Numurkah, and both times it has sounded beautiful. Good on the Crested Pigeons for finding a perfect place to nest. Your property sounds wonderful, thank you for telling me about it.

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