Geophaps plumifera (*)
Geophaps plumifera Gould, 1842
The birds of Australia. pt7 p. pl.69
The Spinifex Pigeon, Geophaps plumifera, is a bird found in Australia.
There are only two Australian pigeon species that possess an erect crest: the Spinifex Pigeon and the Crested Pigeon. The Spinifex Pigeon is the smaller of the two, measuring from 20 to 24 centimetres (8 to 9.6 inches). There are two races; the White-bellied Spinifex Pigeon, Geophaps plumifera plumifera, which is permanently found in the arid areas of north western, northern, eastern and central Australia, and the Red-bellied Spinifex Pigeon, Geophaps plumifera ferruginea, which is permanently found in the Pilbara, Western Australia.
Otherwise, both races have plumage that is rusty coloured and blends into the red soils of the arid areas. They also have a bright red facial patch around the eye with a ring of black and grey facial patches. The pigeons have black striations on their wings. The sexes are difficult to distinguish.
Generally they live in stony areas with low woodlands and spinifex grasses. They are nomadic and terrestrial. The pigeons are seed eaters and are dependent on waterholes recharged by wet season monsoonal rains and showers. As the dry season progresses, they concentrate around the ever-decreasing water sources. They are often found in pairs or groups.
Their flight is low and fast, often flipping and gliding in the flight. Their call is a high-pitched coo or a deep coo-r-r-r.
The species breeds in spring and summer or after rain. Two white eggs are laid in the shelter of a spinifex bush.
BirdLife International (2004). Geophaps plumifera. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
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