Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pheasant Pigeon

Pheasant Pigeon
Pheasant Pigeons are large, terrestrial birds that can be found on New Guinea and nearby islands. They forage on the rainforest floors and build their nests on the ground. There are four recognized subspecies that vary by color and island location.

The subspecies have reddish-brown bodies with black heads and tails. The primary distinguishing feature between all four is the color of the nape of the neck. Green, white, gray, and black colored napes help to tell them all apart. 

The Pheasant Pigeons are rather interesting because they don't look especially pigeon-like, and because their behavior is more akin to that of their namesakes, the Pheasants. You see, there are no Pheasants in New Guinea, and the Pheasant Pigeons, which are the only species within their genus, have evolved to fill the niche that would have been occupied by Pheasants!

Though they are listed as being of Least Concern by the IUCN, Pheasant Pigeons are becoming rare in some parts of their range, and no global population survey has been undertaken. They are are also very few held in captivity.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : New Guinea
Size : Length around 18in (46cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Columbiformes
Family : Columbidae -- Genus : Otidiphaps -- Species : O. nobilis

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