Outback Doves and Pigeons

Diamond Doves, Peaceful Doves, Crested Pigeons and Spinifex Pigeons were foraging in the red desert sands and dusty gorges during our Desert Discovery trip.


 Diamond Dove (Geopelia cuneata)


Diamond Doves are the smallest doves in Australia measuring in at just 21cm and 33g. They are pretty little things with bluish heads and chests, red eye-rings and diamond bling speckles on their wings.


Diamond Dove


The Diamond Dove above was about to drink from a rock pool. It is a little browner on the back than the bird in the first image, which makes me think it is probably a female.


Peaceful Dove (Geopelia striata)


Rachel and I were walking along the track at the Ellery Creek Big Hole when she pointed at the ground and insisted she’d seen a bird. I circled the patch of ground until I spotted this exquisite Peaceful Dove who was sitting very still and blending remarkably well with the leaf litter. At 22cm and 54g it is a cuddly little specimen with sweet pastel colouring. The cere, lores, eye and eye-ring are blue while the underparts and feet are pink. I particularly like the scalloped and barred feathering on wings and throat.


Crested Pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes)


Crested Pigeons are found across most of Australia but I think they look more striking with the desert backdrop than they do in lush green parks and gardens. The long, dark crest looks spectacular against the sandy background. Their wings make a fascinating, and surprisingly loud, whistle when they take off as air passes over a modified feather.


Crested Pigeon


This Crested Pigeon’s iridescent wing patch is showing its green and purple colours in the sunlight.


Crested Pigeon


Crested Pigeons were common in the campgrounds and this bird was all fluffed up to keep warm on a cold desert morning.


Spinifex Pigeon (Geophaps plumifera)


Spinifex Pigeon


Spinifex Pigeons have a restricted range compared with the Crested Pigeons: they are found in patchy areas across northern Australia. They are striking birds with bare red skin around their eyes, bold black and white markings on their faces, rusty feathers with black barring and an impressive sandy-coloured crest.

Happy birding, Kim





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