Species profile

Wonga Pigeon

Wonga Pigeon

Range and abundance

The Wonga Pigeon is found along the east coast of Australia, from south-eastern Queensland to Gippsland, Victoria.

Description

Adult Wonga Pigeons are large, plump, ground-dwelling birds with a small head, short, broad wings and a long tail. They are mainly grey above, with a pale face, a distinctive white ‘V’ on the breast and white lower parts which are boldly marked with black-brown crescents and wedges. Immature birds have a less defined ‘V’ pattern and browner plumage. The call is a high-pitched whistling ‘wonk’ sound, which can be repeated monotonously during the breeding season.

Ecology

The Wonga Pigeon feeds on seeds of native and introduced plants as well as fallen fruit and the occasional insect. It forages exclusively on the ground, often walking long distances. It mainly feeds in the early morning and late afternoon and sometimes forms large flocks where there is plenty of food. The Wonga Pigeon is monogamous, with breeding pairs defending the area around the nest. Threat displays include bowing and clicking while walking towards an intruder. Nests are built in large trees, usually high off the ground, and are a saucer-shaped platform of twigs and sticks, lined with small twigs, vine tendrils and other soft plant materials.  

Threats

The ground-dwelling habits of this bird make it vulnerable to predation by feral cats and foxes. It is also threatened by loss of habitat.

 


What is AWC doing?

At Curramore, AWC is restoring forest cover to disturbed and cleared areas that have been invaded by lantana, increasing available food plants for Wonga Pigeons. 

Did you know:

Wonga Pigeons use a special 'cryptic posture' when sitting on the nest, keeping their tail raised high, while keeping watch over their tail to keep an eye on potential threats. The crescent undertail markings are said to make the bird resemble a piece of broken dead wood, camouflaging it from predators.