Scheepmaker's Crowned Pigeon
Scientific Name: Goura scheepmakeri
Pigeons are unique when it comes to drinking water. Most birds have to put their beaks into water, suck a bit into their beaks, and tilt their heads back so the water runs down into their throats. Pigeons are capable of suction, which means that they can drink water just like we do when we drink through a straw!
Pigeons, in all shapes and sizes (289 species of them!), are found almost everywhere in the world (except in extreme arctic regions). The Scheepmaker’s crowned pigeon is one of the largest birds of the pigeon family and definitely one of the most colorful.
STATUS: The Scheepmaker’s crowned pigeon is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) because they have been hunted for meat and their decorative feather crowns. They are now protected by law and are rarely found around any human settlement.
HABITAT: All three species of crowned pigeon live in New Guinea. The Scheepmaker’s crowned pigeon inhabits dry and flooded forests in southern and southeastern New Guinea. They are ground dwellers but roost and nest in trees.
DIET: Their diet consists of fruit, seeds, berries, and some crustaceans such as mollusks and small crabs.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: These pigeons are large – about the size of a small turkey! They are primarily a dark grayish blue with maroon on the breast and mantle and white wing patches. Their legs are dark red and scaly; their eyes are red. This pigeon’s most distinguishing feature is its lacy crest of light blue-gray feathers, which is laterally compressed so it looks like a fan.
Don't Forget the Milk!
Pigeons feed their young a substance produced in the bird’s crop (a sac in the throat where food is stored) called “pigeon milk” or “crop milk.” The parents feed their chicks “pigeon milk” for the first week after they hatch, which helps the babies grow rapidly.