Pied Imperial Pigeon

Pied Imperial Pigeon


Southeast Asia, ranging from Myanmar and Thailand south to Java and east to the Philippines and New Guinea.


Forest, woodland, mangrove, plantations and scrub mainly found on small islands and in coastal regions


The Pied Imperial Pigeon is a large plump pigeon. It is entirely white or pale cream, apart from black flight feathers and tail feathers. The head can be brown, soiled by eating fruit. The legs and bill are a bluish color and the iris of the eye is brown.

Its flight is fast and direct, with the regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings which are characteristic of pigeons in general.

Pied Imperial Pigeon

Calls made by the birds are a deep "mrrrooooo", "roo-ca-hoo" and "up-ooooo".

Pied imperial pigeons travel in flocks at dusk and dawn and are migratory birds. They are among the most powerful and agile flyers in the bird world and their flight muscles are relatively larger than in most bird groups. This allows them to cross large bodies of water to different islands.

Feather maintenance is very important. They preen (fix their feathers with their beaks), have powder downs (rather than an oily base from a gland), and do rain-bathing to keep their feathers in optimal condition. Rain-bathing has a very distinct posture. The bird crouches against substrate, and then tilts its body to the side, with the wing on the down side slightly folded and tucked under the body. The other wing is spread and raised over the back to expose the feathers of the wing’s underside. After a few minutes, it changes sides.


It builds an untidy stick nest in a tree, usually a coconut palm and lays a single white egg, which hatches within 23 to 25 days. The squab fledges after another three weeks.

Interesting Facts:

The Pied Imperial-Pigeon is also known as the Nutmeg, Torresian Imperial, Imperial Pigeon and Torres Strait Pigeon.


The pied imperial pigeon is classified as Least Concern. In some areas, the population of these pigeons is high. However, the population is declining in other areas because of hunting and the disturbance of breeding colonies by people. In Java and Bali it is considered to be a rare species.

Did YOU Know?    
They can swallow extremely large fruits with very big seeds. The seeds are ejected after the pulp has been removed in the crop or passed through after the pulp is removed by its stomach action.
Pied Imperial Pigeon
Class: birds
Order: Columbidae
Family: Ducula
Genus: Ducula
Species: bicolor
Length: 14-17.6 inches with an 18 inch wingspan
Average Lifespan: Up to 20 years
Wild Diet: Fruits and berries, including wild figs and large fruits of the wild nutmeg
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building: Rainforest

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