Nicobar Pigeons


Scientific Name:
Caloenas nicobarica

Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Sundas and Philippines to Solomon Islands and Southeast Asia, Indonesian Archipelago

Rainforests to open woodlands

Average Size:
Length: about 18 inches
Weight: about 16 ounces

About 10-15 years

Wild: Fruits, nuts, some invertebrates, and seeds
Zoo: Produce such as grapes, sweet potatoes, bananas, lettuce, etc., and Rainforest Crumble Mix

Incubation: 30 days
Clutch size: 2 eggs

The head is grey, like the upper neck plumage, which turns into green and copper hackles towards the breast. The breast is dark grey. The tail is very short and pure white. The rest of its plumage is metallic green.

Birds of prey, tree-going reptiles, rats and cats

Population Status:
Near Threatened

About the Animal
During the day, this shy, cautious pigeon roams from island to island searching for food and roosting space.  In the evenings, it tends to settle on tiny off-shore islets that are predator-free

Unlike many flocking birds, Nicobar Pigeons are known to fly in columns, sometimes almost single file.  The white tail of mature birds serves as a ‘taillight’ for the bird behind it, helping the flock to stay together.

Traditionally, residents of islands tend to be species that are of high environmental concern.  Recent natural disasters have adversely affected the islands used to nest/roost have negatively impacted populations of Nicobar Pigeons. Additionally, logging on the remote islands and the inadvertent spread of predators by visiting humans is creating significant challenges too many flocks. It remains to be seen whether or not the populations will bounce back

Mating and Reproduction
Like all pigeons, adult Nicobar Pigeons initially feed their young a substance called ‘crop milk’ which they regurgitate for the young. As the hatchlings grow, they gradually switch over to seeds and fruit. Hatchlings are ready to fledge in less than a month.

Amazing Information
Like many birds, the Nicobar Pigeon has a gizzard to grind food.  However, the gizzard of this pigeon is lined with hard plates that give the muscle extra crushing power.  The gizzard is so strong it is able to grind large, hard nuts into digestible pieces.