Animals & Attractions

We are home to three Victoria crowned pigeons; a female born in 1999, a male born in 1995 and their chick born in November 2012.

Location in the Zoo

All of them can be seen in our walkthrough Brilliant Birds exhibit.

Breeding Programme Category:

Our Victoria crowned pigeons are part of the European Stud Book programme.

In the Wild

The Victoria crowned pigeon (Goura victoria) is native to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.  It can also be found on Biak-Supiori and the Yapen islands.  Its favoured habitat is dry and wet forested areas from sea level up to around 600 meters into mountainous regions.

Victoria crowned pigeons are the largest species of pigeon.  They are around the size of a female turkey.  They have an impressive crest of feathers on top of the head, from which the species gets its name.

Their wild diet is made up of fruit and seeds along with a few invertebrates such as snails. They forage on the forest floor in groups of two to ten individuals, and spend the night in shrubs and trees.

These pigeons tend to mate for life and the males carry out a courtship display involving bowing of the head and tail. The female usually lays one egg per clutch, which they both incubate for approximately 30 days. Juveniles fledge at four weeks, but will feed from their parents until around 13 weeks old. Only pigeons and flamingos, have the unusual ability among birds to produce milk. This is called ‘crop milk’, and is produced by both sexes, it forms the chick’s diet during their first few days of life.

The main threats that they face in the wild are illegal poaching and hunting and habitat destruction as more of New Guinea is being developed.

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