Western Crowned Pigeon
Goura cristata

AKA: Common Crowned Pigeon, Grey Crowned Pigeon, Blue Goura, Grey Goura, Masked Pigeon, Blue Crowned Pigeon

©John Pire

©John Pire                                                                                     ©Fort Worth Zoo

©Dr Ivano Pelicella

Distribution: Found primarily in the interior of the primary rainforest of the lowlands & foothills. Prefers the flat alluvial plains including the swampy and flooded areas. Endemic to North-western New Guinea eastward to the Etna Bay in the south & to the Siriwo River in the north. Also found on the Western Papuan Islands of Misol, Salawati, Batanta & Waigeu.

Races: Goura cristata cristata (Pallas 1764). Depending on author: G. cristata minor is found on the Western Papuan Islands shows no noticeable differences, but may be more prone to melanism than the nominate form (Goodwin 1983, Gibbs 2001).

 Description: Length 70 cm. A heavily built pigeon, about the size of a small turkey; having long & stout legs. Has a large laterally compressed crest of lacy feathers held erect & fan like over the head. It has broad rounded wings & medium length round-ended tail. Coloration a medium to dark grey blue. Crest a paler grey blue with silvery or creamy tinge. Forehead & crown deep blue-grey; area around base of bill, lores and a broad stripe extending around & behind the eyes is black. Neck & upper mantle deep blue grey, contrasting with the rich purple-maroon band stretching across the upper back from each wing shied & smaller wing coverts. Wings & tail  darker & more slaty & the tail having a pale greyish blue terminal bar. White wing patch formed by white, purple-tipped outer coverts. Irides are red, bill is black, legs & feet dark red or purplish red. Juveniles are smaller versions of adults having the white wing patch creamy grey & wine red of wings replaced by chestnut. This species is subject to melanism & individuals with varying degrees of black on the head, upper tail coverts & ventral regions are common.

Nesting: A single white egg; incubated by both parents (typical of all doves & pigeons) for 28-29 days; fledges 30 -39 days and fed by parents for another couple of weeks.