Fiji Birds: Pigeons and Doves 

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close up of a dove pigeon turning head

Fiji’s urban areas host a variety of pigeons and doves, including the recognizable Rock Dove and the elegant Metallic Pigeon. Among them are colorful species like the Many Coloured Fruit Dove and the Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove. Larger pigeons such as the Pacific Imperial Pigeon and the Viti Levu Giant Pigeon also inhabit these spaces. Smaller species like the Velvet Dove and the Shy Ground Dove are present, alongside the Lau Imperial-Pigeon, endemic to the Lau Islands. These birds contribute to the charm and biodiversity of Fiji’s urban landscapes, emphasizing the importance of habitat preservation for their survival.

Fun Fact 1: Pigeons and doves are among the few bird species capable of drinking water by sucking it up, rather than tilting their heads back to swallow. This unique ability is facilitated by a special muscular pouch in their esophagus called the “crop,” which allows them to drink efficiently from shallow water sources.

Rock PigeonMetallic PigeonSpotted Dove Fiji
ROCK DOVEMETALLIC PIGEONSPOTTED DOVE
Many Coloured Fruit DoveOrange DoveGolden Dove
MANY COLOURED FRUIT DOVEORANGE DOVEGOLDEN DOVE
Pacific Imperial PigeonBarking Pigeon sitting on Branch in FijiCrimson crowned Fruit Dove 1
PACIFIC IMPERIAL PIGEONPEALE’S IMPERIAL PIGEONCRIMSON-CROWNED FRUIT DOVE
No Image ThumbnailNo Image ThumbnailNo Image Thumbnail
VELVET DOVESHY GROUND DOVELAU IMPERIAL-PIGEON
Table: Pigeons and Doves in Fiji

Name: Rock Dove

Rock PigeonCommon Name: Rock Dove
Scientific Name: Columba livia
Table: General details. Image Supplied: Pan Eco Contributor.

Synopsis: Rock Dove

The rock dove, also known as the rock pigeon or common pigeon, belongs to the Columbidae bird family, encompassing doves and pigeons. In their natural habitat, wild rock doves exhibit a pale grey hue with dual black bars decorating each wing, while domestic and feral counterparts showcase diverse variations in plumage coloration and patterns. Notable for their minimal sexual dimorphism, both males and females appear largely alike. Their diet primarily consists of plant matter, with a preference for fruits and grains. Recorded Sightings: Viti Levu – Vanua Levu – Taveuni

Video: Rock Dove

Audio: Rock Dove

Fijian Commemorative Postage Stamp


Rock-Pigeon-Columba-livia Postage Stamps.
Image: Rock Dove Fijian Commemorative Postage Stamp

Name: Metallic Pigeon

Metallic PigeonCommon Name: Metallic Pigeon
Scientific Name: Columba vitiensis
Table: General details. Image Supplied: Daniels, Dick. (2012)

Synopsis: Metallic Pigeon

The Metallic Pigeon also known as the White-throated Pigeon Columba vitiensis is an attractive dark pigeon with a bright iridescent sheen in certain lights. In Fiji, it is common on the larger and many of the intermediate-sized islands but is the least conspicuous of the native pigeons. It is commonly called the Chilli Pigeon because of its fondness for feeding on chillies. Here it often encounters real problems, as chilli bushes are small and cannot usually bear the weight of hefty pigeons. In the mornings, White-throated Pigeons may be commonly seen on roads or tracks taking grit. Unlike the Ducula pigeons, Columba pigeons have a gizzard in which they store grit to help them grind down their food. The latter consists of small fruit, seeds and young shoots. Type: Breeder – Diet: Small fruit, seeds and young shoots. Size: 37 Length – Recorded Sightings: Viti Levu – Vanua Levu – Taveuni – Kadavu – Lomaiviti – Lau

Video: Metallic Pigeon

Audio: Metallic Pigeon

Name: Spotted Dove

Spotted Dove FijiCommon Name: Spotted Dove
Scientific Name: Spilopelia chinensis
Table: General details. Image Supplied: Tunsuphon, Pichai. (2022)

Synopsis: Spotted Dove

Spotted Dove (Spilopelia chinensis) – So-called because of its attractive black and white spotted half-collar, the Spotted Dove is one of the most widespread exotic birds established in Fiji. A native of southeast Asia, the Spotted Dove was first recorded as being established in Fiji in 1923 where, with the exception of Kadavu, it is found on all the larger islands and their off-shore islets, and some islands of Lomaiviti, Mamanuca and Yasawa. It is usually encountered in villages, suburban gardens, and agricultural land, it sometimes ventures into grass clearings in forested areas, and surprisingly is often found in and around mangroves. The Spotted Dove is a grain eater and it can become a serious pest of certain grain crops such as sorghum. Type: Introduced – Recorded Sightings: Viti Levu – Vanua Levu – Taveuni – Lau

Video: Spotted Dove

Audio: Spotted Dove

Fijian Commemorative Postage Stamp


Spotted-Dove-Streptopelia-chinensis.
Image: Spotted Dove Fijian Commemorative Postage Stamp

Name: Many Coloured Fruit Dove

Many Coloured Fruit DoveCommon Name: Many Coloured Fruit Dove
Scientific Name: Ptilinopus perousii
Table: General details. Image Supplied: Moore, Lydia.

Synopsis: Many Coloured Fruit Dove

Many Coloured Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus perousii) – is one of Fiji’s poorly known species, yet it is widespread in the islands and generally common, though local, in distribution. The male Many coloured Fruit dove is one of Fiji’s most spectacularly colourful birds, yet it is surprisingly difficult to see when sitting motionless on the top of the tree. Flocks of this Fruit-dove used to commonly visit the Botanical Gardens and the Banyan Fig Trees along Suva Point Road but this is now a rare occurrence. It can still sometimes be seen in areas of bush remaining within suburban Suva.  Recorded Sightings: Viti Levu – Vanua Levu – Taveuni – Kadavu – Lomaiviti – Lau. Type: Breeder – Diet: Fruit and berries – Recorded Sightings: Viti Levu – Vanua Levu – Taveuni – Kadavu – Lomaiviti – Lau

Video: Many Coloured Fruit Dove

Audio: Many Coloured Fruit Dove

Fijian Commemorative Postage Stamp


Many coloured Fruit Dove
Image: Many Coloured Fruit Dove Fijian Commemorative Postage Stamp

Name: Orange Dove

Orange DoveCommon Name: Orange Dove
Scientific Name: Ptilinopus victor
Table: General details. Image Supplied: Aviceda & Vakanananu Retreat.

Synopsis: Orange Dove

The Taveuni Orange Dove, also known as the Orange Dove (Ptilinopus victor), is a brightly colored bird endemic to Fiji, residing primarily in forests on islands such as Vanua Levu and Taveuni. With its golden olive head and vibrant orange plumage, the male stands out, while the female sports a dark green appearance with touches of orange-yellow. Their diet consists mainly of small fruits, berries, caterpillars, and insects, and reproduction typically involves the female laying a single white egg. This species shares close relations with other fruit doves like the Whistling Fruit Dove and Golden Fruit Dove. TYPE: Breeder – DIET: Small fruits, Berries, Caterpillars and Insects – Recorded Sightings: Vanua Levu – Taveuni

Video: Orange Dove

Audio: Orange Dove

Fijian Commemorative Postage Stamp


Orange Dove Ptilinopus victor
Image: Orange Dove Fijian Commemorative Postage Stamp

Name: Golden Dove

Golden DoveCommon Name: Golden Dove
Scientific Name: Ptilinopus luteovirens
Table: General details. Image Supplied: JJ Harrison. (2023).

Synopsis: Golden Dove

Golden Dove (Ptilinopus luteovirens) – is endemic to Fiji, occurring on the Fijian islands of Viti Levu, Ovalau, Waya, Beqa and Gau. While the male is a striking golden yellow colour which is best observed whilst it is flying, the female is a drab green colour.  This dove is a forest species but common also at the forest edge and in the intermediate vegetation zone where it frequents forest patches, secondary scrub and gallery forest. Golden Doves are predominantly agile subcanopy feeders of a wide variety of small berries and fruits.  The Golden Dove has a very strange call for a dove, the male delivers a sharp yapping call somewhat similar to a puppy’s bark heard at a distance, it has a strong ventriloqual quality. Type: Breeder – DIET: Small Berries and Fruits. Recorded Sightings: Viti Levu – Lomaiviti

Video: Golden Dove

Audio: Golden Dove

Name: Pacific Imperial Pigeon

Pacific Imperial PigeonCommon Name: Pacific Imperial Pigeon
Scientific Name: Ducula pacifica
Table: General details. Image Supplied: Shuetrim, Geoff. (2018).

Synopsis: Pacific Imperial Pigeon

The Pacific Imperial Pigeon, with its blackish-green back, tail, and wings, and light grey head and neck, is found across the Pacific region. Distinguished by its pink-tinged grey breast, black bill with an upper mantle knob, and red iris, it’s larger than the female, while juveniles lack the bill knob and breast pinkness, appearing duller overall. Type: Breeder – Recorded Sightings: Lomaiviti – Lau – Rotuma

Video: Pacific Imperial Pigeon

Audio: Pacific Imperial Pigeon

Fijian Commemorative Postage Stamp


PACIFIC IMPERIAL PIGEON
Image: Pacific Imperial Pigeon Fijian Commemorative Postage Stamp

Name: Peale’s Imperial Pigeon

Barking Pigeon sitting on Branch in FijiCommon Name: Peale’s Imperial Pigeon
Scientific Name: Ducula latrans
Table: General details. Image Supplied: Tom Tarrant. (2007).

Synopsis: Peale’s Imperial Pigeon

The Peale’s Imperial Pigeon also known as the Barking Imperial Pigeon, primarily frugivorous, feeds on the large fruits of trees like Cananga, Didymocheton, and Myristica, often alone or in pairs but occasionally in small flocks on fruiting trees. Breeding season spans from May to January, with a single egg laid on a flimsy twig nest. Measuring 40-44cm, it features grey upper parts, darker brown upper wings and tail, a black bill, and purple-red eyes. Its distinctive barking “u-oo” and “raa” noises, particularly during mating, lend to its name. Recorded sightings include Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Kadavu, Lomaiviti, and Lau.

Video: Peale’s Imperial Pigeon

Audio: Peale’s Imperial Pigeon

Name: Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove

Crimson crowned Fruit Dove 1Common Name: Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove
Scientific Name: Ptilinopus porphyraceus
Table: General details. Image Supplied: Van Houtan, Kyle. (2009)

Synopsis: Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove

The Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove is often solitary but occasionally observed in pairs, with a presumed territorial nature. Recorded sightings encompass Lau and Rotuma regions.

Video: Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove

Audio: Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove

Fijian Commemorative Postage Stamp


Crimson-crowned-Fruit-Dove-Ptilinopus-porphyraceus Fijian Commemorative Postage Stamp
Image: Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove Fijian Commemorative Postage Stamp

Name: Velvet Dove

Ptilinopus layardiCommon Name: Velvet Dove
Scientific Name: Ptilinopus layardi
Table: General details. Image Supplied: Smit, Joseph. (1881)

Synopsis: Velvet Dove

Velvet Dove (Ptilinopus layardi) – is also endemic to Fiji but is restricted to the islands of Kadavu and Ono. The Whistling Dove has an unremarkable plumage, but it has a very strange call for a dove – a loud rising whistle which is immediately followed by a short falling trill or tinkle, the latter only heard at close quarters. Type: Breeder. Recorded Sightings: Kadavu

Video: Velvet Dove

Audio: Velvet Dove

Name: Shy Ground Dove

Shy Ground DoveCommon: Shy Ground Dove
Scientific: Pampusana stairi
Recorded Sightings: Kadavu
Table: General details. Image Supplied: Joseph Wolf. (1856).

Audio: Shy Ground Dove

Related Articles

Pheasants, Grouse & AlliesSwallowsPlovers and Lapwings
Grass birds and AlliesDucks, Geese and WaterfowlRails, Gallinules and Coots
Herons, Egrets & BitternsIbises & SpoonbillsKingfishers
Cuckoo ShrikesMonarch FlycatchersFantails
Australasian RobinsThrushes and AlliesStarlings
Whistlers and alliesWoodswallows, BellmagpiesWaxbills and allies
Barn OwlsBush Warblers and AlliesOld World Sparrows
Hawks – EaglesCuckoosFrogmouth
FalconsOld World ParrotsHoneyeaters
BulbulsWhite EyesSandpipers and Allies
Skuas and JaegersFrigatebirdsNorthern storm-petrels
AlbatrossesPelicansSouthern Storm Petrels
TropicbirdsBoobies and GannetsShearwaters and petrels
Gulls, Terns and SkimmersPigeons and DovesSwifts
Table: Bird Groups of Fiji.

References

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  • [Josep del Hoyo]. (2012, August 24). Orange Dove Ptilinopus victor [Video]. Macaulay Library. Link
  • [Josep del Hoyo]. (2012, August 28). Golden Dove Ptilinopus luteovirens [Audio]. Macaulay Library. Link
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  • Macaulay Library. (n.d.). Recording of Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove. [Audio recording]. Retrieved from [Link]
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  • Tunsuphon, Pichai. “Spotted Dove.” Photograph. Shutterstock. Accessed June 25, 2024. Link
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Additional Sources of Information

  • NatureFiji-MareqetiViti is Fiji’s only domestic NGO working solely for the conservation and sustainable management of Fiji’s unique natural heritage – Link