Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Nicobar Pigeon

Caloenas nicobarica

The Nicobar pigeon is a striking bird native to Southeast Asia. These beautiful birds have a "mane" of hairlike feathers and iridescent coloring in metallic blue-green and coppery reflections. The males have a small black knob at the base of their bill.

Range & Habitat

Mangroves and lowland forests in Southeast Asia – from India eastward, on the Nicobar Islands to New Guinea and in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Conservation Status: Near Threatened

Near Threatened due to hunting, the pet trade and deforestation of wooded areas on small islands.


In the Wild – Mainly hard seeds, fruits, corn and invertebrates.

At the Zoo: Pigeon pellets, paradise pellets, fruits, seeds and insects.

Life Span

In the Wild – 8-12 years
In Human Care – 10-15 years.

Fun Facts about the Nicobar Pigeon

  • The Nicobar pigeon is also known as the “hackled pigeon,” “white-tailed pigeon,” or “vulturine pigeon.”
  • Nicobar pigeons have a very muscular gizzard (the “second” stomach of a bird used for grinding food), and can eat some hard nuts that humans can only open with a hammer!
  • The Nicobar pigeon is a relative of the extinct Dodo bird.


BirdLife International, (2006). Nicobar pigeon - birdlife species factsheet. Retrieved November 11, 2005, from BirdLife International Web site:

City of Garden City, Nicobar Pigeon. Retrieved March 22, 2006, from Lee Richardson Zoo Web site: 

del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., & Sargatal, J. (Eds.) (1997). Handbook of the birds of the world, vol. 4. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions. 

Gerald Durrell Jersey Zoo, Nicobar pigeon. Retrieved March 22, 2006, from Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust Web site:


Updated June 13, 2023
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