Cairns to Cape Tribulation

Information for Pied imperial pigeon - Ducula bicolor

Eukaryota >Animalia > Chordata > Aves > Columbiformes > Columbidae > Ducula > Ducula bicolor

Pied imperial pigeon
Ducula bicolor

A large, attractive, mostly white pigeon that can be seen between Cairns and Cape Tribulation during the wet season.

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Pied imperial pigeon - Ducula bicolor resting on Bleeding Heart tree - Photo by Alex Pawlow

For most of the year it lives in New Guinea, and return between August and October. They usually roost on offshore Islands (sometimes on the mainland) and produce up to three clutches in a season. They can often roost in large numbers up to the tens of thousands.

They will nest in many different types of environments including rainforest, mangroves, eucalypt forest or rocky areas. Usually they build a nest in trees, but occasionally they can lay eggs on the ground, where they surround the nest with a ring of droppings.

They eat fruit from tropical plants and will travel from their roost sites on islands to the mainland to feed often in small groups of 10-20.

They are very disctinctive and identification is usually positive. They are mainly white with black on the outer parts of their wings and black bars on the tail. The beak is yellow and legs are blue-grey.

Synonyms include Torres Strait Pigeon, Nutmeg pigeon, White nutmeg pigeon, Torresian imperial pigeon.