Crested Pigeon

Ocyphaps lophotes

Crested Pigeons have a very wide Australian distribution, mostly occurring in the dry to semi-dry areas, but have spread into Canberra gardens in the late 1980s. In the suburbs, they occur generally in small groups on open short grass where they feed on seed. Their habit of perching on overhead wires, together with their characteristic noise in flight and mating display make them quite conspicuous.

There were few records, mostly from west Belconnen, until 1987. There was a huge increase in 1990, with a continuing growth since then. From 1991 onwards the distribution has been generally uniform across Canberra, though the numbers are slightly greater in northern and southern suburbs than centrally. In 1997-98 it ranked as the 18th most common species, occurring at more than 80 per cent of sites whilst in 2006-07 it was the 8th most common species.

Numbers vary little throughout the year, from a minimum in November to a peak in May – June. Breeding records show a significant rise in 1988-89, with another in 1993-94. Their nests are frail platforms of twigs in low thick bushes. Few complete breeding events were noted, although the breeding period can be very wide with display at almost any time, and actual nest building from late September to late March. R=34. BR=15.