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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Did You Know These Nicobar Pigeon Facts?

Read these interesting Nicobar pigeon facts about these birds that are found in the Nicobar islands.

From India's Andaman and the Nicobar Islands in the east to the Solomon Islands and Palau, the beautiful Nicobar pigeon (Caloenas nicobarica) can be found. The Nicobar pigeon is truly one of the most attractive of all pigeons or doves. A major population of Nicobar pigeon (Caloenas nicobarica) birds can also be found in small islands and coastal regions such as in Papua New Guinea.

It is the sole surviving member of the genus Caloenas, and it is thought to be the nearest living relative to the now-extinct Dodo and Rodrigues solitaire. Sadly, in the wild, their numbers are diminishing due to the pet trade, being killed for food, and the threat from predators.

This bird has a dark grey body with very fine plumage. It has a shiny and lustrous metallic green and copper-bronze neck plumage, making it somewhat bigger than most pigeons at 15 in (40 cm). Its glistening mane is of a striking contrast compared to its white tail. Its unique appearance makes it very easy to spot this bird. When it comes to size, females are much smaller than males, and they have a comparatively smaller bill, shorter plumage, and darker underparts than males. The tails of juvenile birds are dark, and they lack the luminosity and the striking beauty of the adults, both males and females. Young baby birds, however, are born with a brown-green tail instead of a white tail, and they do not possess any hackles on their neck.

If you like this article, then you can also learn about the great crested flycatcher and the dove here on Kidadl.

Nicobar Pigeon Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Nicobar pigeon?

The Nicobar pigeon (Caloenas nicobarica) is a type of bird native to the Nicobar Islands.

What class of animal does a Nicobar pigeon belong to?

Nicobar pigeons belong to the Aves (birds) class of animals.

How many Nicobar pigeons are there in the world?

The estimated population of adult Nicobar pigeons is roughly 1,600 across the globe. Unfortunately, their population is on the decline due to their capture for trade, predators, and habitat destruction.

Where does a Nicobar pigeon live?

Nicobar pigeons can be found on offshore oceanic islands such as India's famous Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

What is a Nicobar pigeon's habitat?

In the Indo-Australian region, the species breed on small islands with dense coastal forests, then migrate to larger isles with a much thicker forest cover to feed on. They prefer to occupy the range between sea level and a 1640 ft (500 m) height. During the breeding season, smaller isles are picked by these birds, and during the non-breeding season, larger islands with a large number of fruiting trees are preferred.

Who do Nicobar pigeons live with?

The Caloenas nicobarica (Nicobar pigeon) can choose to be solitary or can be found living in groups of 20-30 birds. It tends to feed exclusively on the ground, gathering fleshy fruits and seeds from the forest floor. They eat in flocks.

How long does a Nicobar pigeon live?

The lifespan of Nicobar pigeon birds is around 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

These birds build their nests in the trees of remote, uninhabited dense coastal forests. Females remain in the nest until it is fully made to secure the nest. The nest is built with twigs mounted on trees that are 6-29 ft (2-12 m) above the ground.

Male and female birds usually share a monogamous relationship and these birds have a peculiar courtship display. The normally quiet birds make a deep cooing sound, and males coo loudly and flex towards females. Females lay between one to two eggs, which are white with a blue tinge and elliptical in shape. For around 30 days, both the male and female together incubate the egg.

When the chicks hatch, they are 'altricial', meaning they are almost totally helpless. The formation of their plumage takes about ten days, and meanwhile, both parents keep their chicks warm. When they are grown up enough to adapt to eating seeds and fruit as food, their mother feeds them a regurgitated fluid known as 'crop milk'. After a month, the chicks can feed themselves.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these birds is Near Threatened as the population of this species is on a decline due to threats from predators. It is not endangered or extinct yet but is at risk of becoming.

Nicobar Pigeon Fun Facts

What do Nicobar pigeons look like?

Long crests stream down the head of this spectacular pigeon. It has shades of dark green with gray, brown, and burnt orange. The bird's snow-white tail is very distinct.

Their glistening blue mane strikes a bright contrast against its bright white tail.

How cute are they?

These birds are very cute and beautiful.

How do they communicate?

These birds emit coos, grunts, and toad-like croaks to communicate. They also sport an aggressive posture while bowing, with erect head and neck feathers while communicating.

How big is a Nicobar pigeon?

The height of the Nicobar pigeon is 16 in (40 cm) with a wingspan of 21-23 in (53-58 cm). They are about two to three times the size of a mouse.

How fast can a Nicobar pigeon fly?

The exact speed of this bird has not been determined, but this bird is a quick flying species of pigeons.

How much does a Nicobar pigeon weigh?

The weight of Nicobar pigeons is around 1.01-1.57 lb (460–525 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Nicobar pigeons don't have specific names for male and female birds.

What would you call a baby Nicobar pigeon?

The babies of these white-tailed pigeons don't have a special name but are commonly referred to as a 'chick'.

What do they eat?

These pigeons graze the earth, consuming a diet of dropped fruit, small insects, any invertebrates they come across, and other food. They own a muscular thick-walled gizzard that allows the species to digest hard seeds and nuts in their diet. They also often swallow gravel and tiny pebbles smaller than 0.39 in (10 mm).

Are they dangerous?

No, they are not dangerous. In fact, the reverse is the case as these birds are in danger themselves, facing threats from those hunting for Nicobar pigeon feathers and from habitat destruction.

Would they make a good pet?

No, it is not advised to keep a Nicobar pigeon pet as they are already under threat due to the pet trade. The fewer people buying this gorgeous bird as a pet, the better for its hopes for survival.

Did you know...

Other common names for this bird are the hackled pigeon, the white-tailed pigeon, and the vulturine pigeon, it is known for having the most beautiful plumage.

The Nicobar pigeon is the only living ancestor of the extinct Dodo, and it is the only remaining member of the Caloenas family.

When in flight, this bird has a prominent white tail. Flocks use this as a marker and it helps them to stay together while traveling at dusk or dawn.

A group of pigeons can be called a band, fall, flight, flock, pack, kit, loft, passel, school, or stool of pigeons.

Nicobar pigeons, Dodos and extinction

The Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) was a flightless bird that was once present in the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, towards the east of Madagascar. The Dodo's nearest genetic ancestor was the Rodrigues solitaire which is now extinct. Both these birds belonged to the Raphinae subfamily of the pigeon and dove family. The Nicobar pigeon is now the closest living relative of the now-extinct bird Dodo.

Is the Nicobar pigeon an endemic species?

Plant and animal populations that are only found living in a certain geographical area and nowhere else on the planet are known as endemic species. Some species are only present on a continent, and others are only found on an island. Nicobar Pigeons are not endemic to the Nicobar Islands as they are found in other places around the world too, albeit in small numbers.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds, including the frigate bird or the Dodo.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Nicobar pigeon coloring pages.

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