Beautiful Bronzewing Pigeons

Common Bronzewing, Laratinga Wetlands

Common Bronzewing, Laratinga Wetlands

Common Bronzewing Pigeons are, on first appearance, a reasonably plain bird. It is only when one gets an individual sitting quietly in a sunny position that you get a full appreciation of the subtle and quite beautiful colours in the plumage of this species. This is what happened to me recently on a visit to the Laratinga Wetlands in Mt Barker, South Australia. I seem to recall seeing at least three birds on that visit; there may have been more that I didn’t see.

In my experience Common Bronzewings are very flighty, nervous birds and will fly off rapidly as you approach. This can make them sometimes hard to photograph in the bush. At Laratinga they have obviously become accustomed to the hundreds of local people and tourists who visit this site every day. Walkers, joggers, photographers and cyclists frequently use the many good paths around the dozen or so ponds making up the wetlands, so it is not surprising that the local bronzewings will tolerate a person coming to within a few metres.

The birds in today’s photos were only about three metres from me so I was able to get some close up shots. The early morning sun shining on their feathers shows off some of the beautiful colours.

Further reading:

Common Bronzewing, Laratinga Wetlands

Common Bronzewing, Laratinga Wetlands

Common Bronzewing, Laratinga Wetlands

Common Bronzewing, Laratinga Wetlands

Common Bronzewing, Laratinga Wetlands

Common Bronzewing, Laratinga Wetlands

Bronzewing Pigeons at the Australian Reptile Park

Common Bronzewing Pigeon

Common Bronzewing Pigeon

The Common Bronzewing Pigeon is a widespread species in the mallee areas of South Australia where I live, as well as being relatively common throughout its range where suitable habitat exists. It is scarce in the drier parts of the continent.

The photos shown in today’s post were taken on a recent family visit to the Australian Reptile Park near Gosford north of Sydney.  These birds were not wild birds but individuals kept in one of the aviaries there. I feature them here because of their beautiful colours.

The bird immediately below this text is not as colourful. It could be a juvenile, or the lack of colour could be the angle of the sun on the feathers. It looks more fluffed up than normal; it was a very cold day.

The prominent yellow-buff colouring on the males in the top and bottom photos is particularly striking, something I haven’t observed in the natural environment. In their natural habitat they tend not to sit nicely like these in one of the walk through aviaries in the reptile park. I usually just see a blurred shape of a bird fast disappearing into the distance.

Common Bronzewing Pigeon

Common Bronzewing Pigeon

Common Bronzewing Pigeon

Common Bronzewing Pigeon

Crested Pigeons nesting in our garden

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Crested Pigeon on its nest

On our return from a recent holiday in Sydney we were having lunch on the back veranda. I was watching a Crested Pigeon fussing about in a tree about twenty metres away. Next thing it settled down as if on a nest. I left my food – actually I think I was at the cuppa stage of the meal – and moved slowly and carefully towards the nest. I’d remembered to go inside to get my camera first.

Sure enough – the pigeon was sitting on a nest. Crested Pigeons are very common around Murray Bridge. At times I have counted up to 50 sitting perched on power lines, often in a row. It’s quite a spectacular sight, though it is not common to see so many at one location. Loose groups of 5 to 15 are quite common, however.

Crested Pigeons are what I call a resident breeding species, meaning, they are resident all the year and that they breed in our garden. The nest shown in today’s photos is quite a substantial nest for a pigeon. Most pigeons and doves are not fastidious or elaborate when it comes to nest building. They seem to think that a dozen or so flimsy sticks placed at random in the fork of any tree or bush will do as a home for their chicks. How the eggs don’t fall through some nests I’ve seen is amazing. Still, they seem to manage; there are a lot of them around!

My writing of this post was interrupted by the load of washing finishing, and I am the one in our household who usually does the washing. The pigeon’s nest is near the clothes line and the bird is sitting tight, even when we walk within a few metres of the nest. She must have eggs, I think. I will keep a watch on proceedings.

UPDATE: January 22nd: over the last week we have had a heatwave with five days over 42C with several over 45C (113F). This was followed by several days of wild wind which broke several branches off our trees. The nest is still there but appears to have been abandoned.

Crested Pigeon on its nest

Crested Pigeon on its nest

White-headed Pigeon, Adelaide Zoo

White-headed Pigeon

One of the walk through aviaries at the Adelaide Zoo has quite a large collection of pigeons, including these White-headed Pigeons. I have visited this aviary on many occasions and usually many of the pigeons are actively scratching around in the dirt on the floor of aviary or feeding from one of the feed trays. Usually, however, some of the birds prefer to just sit on a branch of the many trees growing inside the large cage.

The bird above looks cold, huddled on the branch like that. If my memory is correct it was actually quite a warm day; it certainly was in mid-January, one of our hotter months. Looking carefully at the bird above, however, it appears to be a juvenile. On almost every visit to this aviary I’ve several pigeons, this species included, either making a nest or sitting on eggs. If, as I suspect, it is a recently fledged bird, it would explain why it is all fluffed up like that.

To read more about this species and to see better photos I have taken click here.

White-headed Pigeon

White-headed Pigeon

Rock Dove

Rock Dove at Adelaide Zoo

I don’t normally pay much attention to photographing introduced species, but this Rock Dove strutting around in the grounds of Adelaide Zoo caught my eye. It was almost right under my feet, the camera was ready to shoot and the bird was posing appropriately, so I took the photo.

Rock Doves, also called Feral Pigeons, are common throughout Australian cities and towns. They are especially common here in South Australia around cereal grain handling facilities, even in remote rural areas. The free grain available in such places provides a sustainable source of food. When I travelled overseas I discovered that they are very common in most places.

This individual, one of many, was feeding on food dropped by people visiting the zoo. The outdoor restaurant area was only a few metres behind me when I took the shot.