Monday, 15 January 2007

The wave of a crest

Not so long ago, it was quite exciting* to see crested pigeons (Ocyphaps lophotes) in the Melbourne CBD. Now the place is full of 'em. They are typically birds of open country, feeding in grasslands but preferring to stay close to water. Perhaps the drought has forced them into the city.

They are usually tame when in small flocks but this one (which I photographed in the spot previously occupied by the masked lapwing) was alone and cautious. They are little charmers. When walking quickly, they look like wind-up toys.

Here's some footage of crested pigeons moving as quickly as their little legs will let them. Lower resolution footage (690KB) or higher resolution (3.5MB).

Trevor, from Trevor's Birding, has blogged on crested pigeons in South Australia, where they're becoming very bold indeed.

* I need to get out more.



Do their heads rock back & forth when they are walking like those of rock pigeons?

Snail said...

Not quite as much. And the faster they go, the less movement in the head.

I've found some footage and now linked it to it in the post.

Duncan said...

I've got some great video footage taken at Hawker in the Flinders Ranges of a male trying to get together with a female. She gave him short shrift despite his very striking posturing. There a few showing up here in Gippsland too, although I haven't sighted one yet.

Snail said...

Male pigeons are persistent fellows, aren't they?

I'm sure they'll be over your way soon. They seem to have expanded their range very rapidly.

Trevor said...

The expanding range of the Crested Pigeon has been well documented. In SA they were rarely seen in the SE of the state 10 years ago but are now common. The same has happened in Victoria - rarely seen in metro Melbourne a decade ago now common in some areas. In ACT one would have to travel 200km to the west 20 years ago to record them, now they are regularly seen in Canberra parks.

Here in SA the species has always been common in small numbers. In recent years - especially around Murray Bridge - flocks of up to 40 or 50 are becoming very common. A very successful species.

I doubt that the drought has had much influence on this movement - it's more a question of availability of water and changes to the environment with more seed producing plants available. Historically this species has spread - and continues to spread - during the last century.

For your information I have written several articles about this species on my blog.

Snail said...

Have linked to your articles now. Thanks for reminding me!

Henry Walloon said...

Fascinating posting on the lapwings (Vanellus miles). Intersting to hear they're common in urban situations. Over here on the other side of the world I've been attempting to find out whether ours (Vanellus vanellus) do the same

Snail said...

Our lapwings aren't quite as sociable as the European ones. They're usually found in pairs rather than flocks, so maybe that has something to do with it.

Anonymous said...

We have Crested Pigeons here aswell they visit for the water in the pots and tubs about the place. The males do carry on something fierce trying to impress the females. Usually they perform in the middle of the road out front of the house. Good thing it's a quiet street, so far out there have been cane toads. There's a young bird visits daily to peck at a spots of paintwork on the deck it thinks it's food I guess? it's been doing the same thing for weeks now. I feel for the little thing. It gives up after a few minutes, has a drink in the same place afterwards on the watertub then flies off in the same direction. A creature of habit!

Snail said...

They're not particularly bright pigeons. But they've got more smarts than peaceful doves.

Or perhaps it's trying to make you feel sympathetic enough to throw it some food? Has anyone else been indulging it?