Victoria crowned pigeons are the largest pigeon species in the world. They are easily recognised by the lacy crest of feathers on top of their heads which gives them their common name. They are steely blue-grey in colour with deep maroon on their front and striking red eyes.
Male and female Victoria crowned pigeons form stable pairs, usually for life. The males have courtship behaviours that involves bowing of their head and moving their tail. The female usually lays one egg each time and both the male and female incubate the egg for around 30 days. The juveniles leave the nest at four weeks old but the parents continue to feed them for another nine weeks.
Victoria crowned pigeons are one of the few bird species that have the unusual ability to produce ‘milk’. Both the male and female can produce crop milk and this forms the complete diet of the nestlings during their first few days of life. Adult Victoria crowned pigeons feed on the forest floor in groups of two to ten individuals. They eat fallen fruit, berries and seeds.
Victoria crowned pigeons are classified by the IUCN as Near Threatened. They have been down-listed from Vulnerable as hunting has declined, however the population in still decreasing because they are losing their habitat to logging and the development of palm-oil plantations.