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Breeding pigeons is a hobby that has not lost its popularity over the centuries. The beauty, the abundance of various breeds, the opportunity to observe the behavior of birds - all this adds to the attractiveness of this unusual hobby. The presence of a crowned pigeon in the flock is the dream of many pigeon-breeders, the bird is an endangered species, the combination of rarity and beauty makes it a particularly desirable acquisition.
Appearance and features
The crowned pigeon is the largest bird of the order of pigeons. The weight of the bird reaches 2.5 kilograms, the length is about 70 centimeters. The upper part of the body is covered with bright blue or light blue plumage, the lower part is chestnut brown. On the wings there is a transverse white stripe.
Important: the crowned pigeon is an independent genus of birds, the closest relatives are the extinct hermits and dodo birds.
The three available subspecies are similar in appearance; birds differ in habitat. Distinguish: blue-crested, fan-shaped and chestnut-breasted varieties. The crowned pigeon was discovered in 1819, for a long time it was considered an artificially bred and feral variety of pigeons, but this theory turned out to be erroneous.
Zarechny Maxim Valerievich
Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.
A lush fan-shaped crest on the head is a distinctive feature of the crowned pigeon, and it is present in females and males. Therefore, the birds are difficult to distinguish externally. The crest rises and straightens or folds, depending on the health and mood of the bird.
It is 3 times the size of a pigeon's head. The fan-bearing crowned pigeon has a crest with triangular tassels at the ends, the blue-crested appearance does not have such tassels, the crest is bright, looks like a fluffy fan. The chestnut variety is distinguished by plumage, its crest is gray-gray, with characteristic tassels, the color of the feathers is brown.
Its impressive size, blue, blue, chestnut shades of plumage make it noticeable, and its friendly disposition allows it to settle next to a person. An albino of this species has not been described, but since any animals and birds can be albinos, it is possible that a snow-white pigeon with a charming crest on its head lives somewhere, although in nature they usually do not survive.
Habitat of the crowned pigeon
The crowned fan-bearing pigeon lives in Australia, where it is considered a symbol of peacefulness and, according to legends, protects the natives from war, in New Guinea and on the adjacent islands there are all varieties of birds.
It settles in low-lying humid forests, in wetlands, in mangroves. It has large wings and flies well. The pigeon is an endangered species, it is listed in the International Red Book. Man invades its natural habitat and exterminates it because of its beautiful feathers. Small groups of crowned pigeons can settle next to a person near fruit plantations.
What does the bird eat
In their natural habitat, the diet of birds includes fruits of plants, grains, plant roots. They find food on the ground, occasionally they can feast on worms or other insects.
At home, food should be balanced and varied, it is introduced:
- grain mixtures (crushed legumes, corn, sunflowers, wheat, millet, rye);
- crushed together with the shell of snails;
- meal worms;
- small shrimp;
- chopped vegetables and fruits;
- cottage cheese;
- hard-boiled chicken eggs, crushed together with the shell.
Feeding mixtures for birds of paradise are suitable for crowned pigeons, because they have a similar habitat and food preferences.
Character and lifestyle
Birds are diurnal, they are active during daylight hours and sleep at night. Birds spend most of the day on the ground, looking for food; in case of danger, they fly up on tree branches, flapping their wings loudly and making a lot of noise. Crowned pigeons often settle in small groups next to a person, they are not afraid of people and show themselves in all their glory, pacing importantly and fully expanding the crest. Farms and fruit plantations are a constant source of food.
Social structure and reproduction
Crowned pigeons create a pair for life, if one bird from a pair dies, the second remains lonely. Courting a girlfriend, the pigeon makes sounds that resemble a drum roll, or hums gently, spending a lot of time with the chosen one, and with her choosing a place for a nest. Young birds create small groups, who have found a pair keep apart, the dove tenderly cares for the dove.
Large birds fly little, usually walk on the ground or sit on the lower branches of trees. Having determined the place of the future nesting place, the birds sit on it together, making it clear to the relatives that the place is occupied by a couple. The nest is built at a height of 7-10 meters. In mid-autumn, the dove lays 1 egg, occasionally there can be 2 of them.
The baby emerges from the egg after 4 weeks of incubation. The female is in the nest at night, the male incubates the egg during the day. After the birth of a chick 1-1.5 months old, it depends on the parents, by the end of this time it begins to fly and becomes independent.
They have no natural enemies among animals. Only in New Zealand, where crowned pigeons were brought in at the beginning of the twentieth century, ermines began to ravage their nests. Bats occasionally attack chicks. For adult birds, only humans are dangerous.
People catch birds for the sake of beautiful plumage, delicious meat. Man occupies the habitual habitat of birds. That is why the number of birds in the world is constantly decreasing.
Population and status of the species
Crowned pigeons are rare and endangered species. The largest population of birds, numbering about 10,000 individuals, lives in New Guinea. From there they were brought to Australia and New Zealand. Today they are grown on farms, then sold to zoos around the world or are carried out by private orders. The meat of these pigeons is considered a delicacy, the large size allows them to be grown for gastronomic purposes. The appearance of chicks in a crowned pigeon in zoos is rare and is a great success.
Crowned pigeon and man
Man is the main enemy of this bird. He exterminates birds for the sake of delicious meat, beautiful feathers. The destruction of forests, mangroves, drainage of swamps leads to a decrease in the population. However, the farms created today for the cultivation of crowned pigeons, the laws protecting these birds give hope for the safety of the species.
In captivity, a pigeon lives for 15-20 years, under the right conditions. They need warmth, balanced nutrition and spacious enclosures. They can be purchased by prior order from the country of residence. The cost of one bird reaches 60 thousand dollars.
Pigeons stop caring for the chick as soon as it starts to fly, they become adults at 2 years old. Since the parents incubate the egg together, if one of them dies, the chick also dies. Large birds like to pose for the camera, often flaunt in front of a person if they do not feel danger.
Anyone who is seriously engaged in breeding rare breeds of pigeons dreams of having a crowned pigeon in their collection. Some manage to create the necessary conditions for the birds and even get offspring, but to achieve this, extensive knowledge and experience are required.