Nicobar pigeon

(Caloenas nicobarica)




Facts about this animal

The dark golden-green iridescent Nicobar pigeon is one of the largest pigeon species. The body-weight is around 600 g, the female is somewhat smaller. It has a sturdy body and a relatively small head. It is long-legged, has almost no tail, and features an iridescent purple mane of long hackles. The short tail is white, the iris brown, the bill black, and the feet are dark purplish red.

The Nicobar pigeon normally breeds, often in dense colonies, on extremely small, wooded offshore islands and forages in situ or on adjacent mainland (or larger island) areas. Like other poigeons, the Nicobar is monogamous. The clutch usually consists of one or two eggs, which are incubated for 30 days. Both parents share duties caring for the nest. The young fledges after 70-80 days.

Nicobar pigeons feed on a variety of seeds, fruit, and small invertebrates. They have a very muscular gizzard, which enables them to eat very hard-shelled nuts.

Did you know?
that research conducted by the Oxford University Museum of Natural History found that the Nicobar pigeon is the closest living relative of the dodo bird, a flightless giant pigeon that went extinct in the mid-1600s?


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Caloenas nicobarica
Name (English) Nicobar pigeon
Name (French) Nicobar à camail, Pigeon à collerette
Name (German) Mähnentaube, Kragentaube
Name (Spanish) Paloma de Nicobar
Local names Bahasa Indonesia: Junai Mas Bahasa
Malaysia: Burung Punai Emas
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



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Range South East Asia and Western Pacific: Brueni, Cambodia, India (Andaman and Nicobar Islands only), Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Viet Nam
Habitat Subtropical and tropical moist lowland and mangrove forests
Wild population No global data available. But decreasing (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 960 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Nicobar pigeon


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 15 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
BS Thurner Hof

Why do zoos keep this animal

The Nicobar pigeon is a large and attractive pigeon and therefore a good ambassador species for the conservation of lowland and mangrove forest habitats.

As many populations are threatened by trapping for food, the pet trade and perhaps their gizzard-stones, clearance of small islands for plantations, and the colonisation of such islands by alien predators, maintaining a viable ex situpopulation makes sense, in particular as the species is listed under Appendix I of CITES and therefore the supply of birds from the wild is difficult.