Species profile

Squatter Pigeon

Squatter Pigeon

Range and abundance

The Squatter Pigeon occupies suitable habitat in eastern Queensland from the coast to the inland slopes of the Great Dividing Range. Squatter Pigeons were formerly found south to the Murray-Darling basin, but the species has not been recorded in New South Wales for some decades.

Description

The Squatter Pigeon is a  medium-sized, ground-dwelling pigeon, predominantly grey-brown, with conspicuous black and white stripes on the face and throat, a white flank, and patches of iridescent green or violet on the upper surfaces of the wings. The Squatter Pigeon has low, quiet, conversational “coos.” Flight is fast, with rapid wing-beats interrupted by glides on stiff, downcurved wings.

Ecology

Squatter Pigeons forage on the ground for seeds and invertebrates. They prefer dry grassy eucalypt woodlands and open forests in sandy country never far from water. They nest in a depression in the ground lined with grass and breed mostly in the early dry season laying two creamy white eggs at a time.

Threats

Squatter Pigeon are threatened by predation by feral cats and foxes. The risk of predation is increased in areas where ground cover is reduced by intensive grazing and extensive fire. These factors can also alter vegetation structure and composition, leading to a replacement of perennial grasses and forbs with annual species. In the past, large numbers of birds were shot for food. 

What is AWC doing?

AWC implements fire management on its sanctuaries to reduce the risk of extensive wildfire. AWC removes feral herbivores from sanctuaries where these birds occur.

Did you know:

The two subspecies of Squatter Pigeon, are generally distinguished by having different coloured eye-rings. The southern subspecies G. s. scripta generally has bluish skin around the eyes; whereas this skin tends to be red in the northern subspecies G. s. peninsulae.