A wet-season visitor: Torresian Imperial-pigeon

Torresian Imperial-pigeon 7676
Torresian Imperial-pigeon, Ducula spilorrhoa, in paperbark tree

The Torresian Imperial-pigeon, Ducula spilorrhoa,  is an occasional wet-season visitor to our garden. We had a pair of them in February last year and this one has been here for almost a week so far. They usually stay high in the trees; this photo shows our current visitor in our paperbark but I have also seen it in our palms, where it has been feeding on the berries, and in the poplar gum and mango.

They are very big as pigeons go, about the same size as a big magpie or small currawong, and mostly pure white except for black tail-feathers. Clicking on the image above will take you to a larger version on my Flickr photostream and thence to other shots of it. Their call is a deep, loud coo-hoo. 

There is some debate over their proper name, as they are also known as the Torres Strait Pigeon, a sub-species of the Pied Imperial Pigeon, Ducula bicolor. More broadly, Ducula is a genus within the pigeon family Columbidae. All members of the genus are correctly called “imperial pigeon”, with or without the hyphen, and are large, tree-dwelling fruit eaters.

4 thoughts on “A wet-season visitor: Torresian Imperial-pigeon”

  1. I still like the old name “nutmeg pigeon” from the fruit of the native nutmeg which is one of their favourite foods. Did you know that a website has been set up for people to record their sightings and observations of these birds. Records and observations of their nests are particularly useful, but also how late in the summer or how far into autumn they are still being seen here. And when they are first noticed returning in the spring. The website is: http://www.pipwatch.net/

  2. We have them in our garden again now, just as the Wet season is getting under way. I have been hearing calls for a few days; yesterday I finally spotted one, high in the Poplar Gum, and this morning I saw four of them there.

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