Pied Imperial Pigeons visit Townsville

white birds in tree
Time for a good shake

I mentioned these handsome birds, Pied Imperial-Pigeons aka Torresian Imperial Pigeons (Ducula bicolor), in mid September and they have been visiting us fairly regularly ever since.

We often see or hear them quite early in the morning or quite late in the afternoon, around 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., so for a while I even thought they may be roosting in our poplar gum overnight. However, we don’t see them earlier or later than those times and I now think they are doing what the books say they do, that is, roosting on their off-shore breeding islands and coming to the mainland only to feed.

I caught the two in my top photo at the end of October. One morning two weeks later I watched as a bigger group, perhaps ten strong, flew in from the North, rested for a while and then continued to the South, towards Ross River and (much further away) Mount Elliott.

For birds which are so brilliantly white while resting, there’s a surprising show of black in their wings in flight.

white bird in flight
Leaving the poplar gum …
white bird in flight
… towards the River

6 thoughts on “Pied Imperial Pigeons visit Townsville”

  1. It’s nearly a year since that previous comment, and I’ve just heard their distinctive baritone ‘coo’ again from our poplar gum. I haven’t kept track on a daily or weekly basis but I know they’ve been visiting for several months now.

  2. Last week I saw a few of these birds fly from our garden, very late in the day, away from the coast. They seemed to be heading for the big banyan fig which blocks the Ross River end of our street, and I thought they might be nesting there. That thought was strengthened early this morning when I saw two fly to the fig tree and perch in its topmost branches.

    1. The same Hermit Park resident thought she heard one last Saturday (Aug 11) and has backed that up with a definite sighting today. As she says, that’s much earlier in the year than usual.

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