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Mary: Female, hatched October 2, 1989 at the Kansas City Zoo. She arrived at the Zoo on July 11, 1990.
Crash: Male, hatched on July 27, 2010 at the Bronx Zoo. He arrived at the Philadelphia Zoo on May 12, 2011.
McNeil Avian Center
A very distinctive looking pigeon, this is one of the largest in the world. Easily distinguished from other pigeons by their dark blue-grey plumage and large fan-like crest feathers tipped with white and purple. Males and females look almost identical, with males sometimes a little larger than the females.
Longevity in the wild not known, in captivity these large pigeons can live into their 30’s.
Usually found in pairs or small groups, these large pigeons spend most of their time on the ground. When threatened, they may use an aggressive display where they turn sideways to their opponents and raise their wings making them look much larger and possibly more threatening. During courtship, the male will duck his head low while fanning his tail feathers out, both head and tail bob up and down.
Unlike most of the pigeons and doves, the Victoria crowned pigeon builds a fairly solid platform nest of sticks and leaves. In this nest, the female lays a single egg which hatches about 30 days after laying. Both the male and female incubate the egg and care for the chick. The chick will fledge approximately 4 weeks after hatching and the parents may continue to feed the fledgling for another 2 to 3 months. Like other pigeons, chicks are fed with a highly nutritious crop milk produced by the parents and regurgitated to the young.
The Victoria crowned pigeon stands 25 to 30 inches tall
Approximately 5 pounds, males may be slightly larger than females.
In the wild, the Victoria crowned pigeon feeds on the ground. This large bird eats mainly seeds, fallen fruits, and insects. At the Zoo, the base diet for the Victoria crowned pigeon is a commercial high grain dog food. The enrichment portion of the diet includes a variety of fruit, seeds and insects.
Lowland tropical forests of New Guinea
On the 2011 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Victoria crowned pigeon is listed as Vulnerable.
To learn more about the conservation efforts at the Philadelphia Zoo, click here.
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