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Nicobar Pigeon

Nicobar Pigeon
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5099 W: 166 N: 13042] (48618)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-05-21
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/4, 1/60 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-07-04 5:36
Viewed: 5451
Points: 60
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Nicobar Pigeon, Caloenas nicobarica, is a pigeon which is a resident breeding bird on small uninhabited islands in Indonesia and the Nicobar Islands. It is the only living member of the genus Caloenas.

This is a large heaviset pigeon, measuring 40 cm in length. The head is grey, like the upper neck plumage, which turns into green and copper hackles towards the breast. The breast and remiges are dark grey. The tail is very short and pure white. The rest of its plumage is metallic green. The cere of the dark bill forms a small blackish knob; the strong legs and feet are dull red. The irides are dark.

Females are slightly smaller than males; they have a smaller bill knob, shorter hackles and browner underparts. Immature birds have a black tail and lack almost all iridescence. There is hardly any variation across the birds' wide range. Even the Palau subspecies C. n. pelewensis has merely shorter neck hackles, but is otherwise almost identical.

It is not a very vocal species, giving a low-pitched repetitive call.

The Nicobar Pigeon's breeding range encompasses the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India, the Mergui Archipelago of Myanmar, offshore islands of south-western Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, southern Cambodia and Vietnam, and many of the small islands between Sumatra, the Philippines and the Solomon Islands. On Palau, the only distinct subspecies C. n. pelewensis is found.

The Nicobar Pigeon roams in flocks from island to island, usually sleeping on offshore islets where no predators occur and spends the day in areas with better food availability, not shying away from areas inhabited by humans. Its food consists of seeds, fruit and some invertebrates, and it is attracted to areas where grain is available. A gizzard stone helps to grind up hard food items. Its flight is quick, with regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings, as is characteristic of pigeons in general.

Unlike other pigeons, groups tend to fly in columns or single file, not in a loose flock. The white tail is prominent in flight when seen from beind and may serve as a sort of "taillight", keeping flocks together when crossing the sea at dawn or dusk. The young birds' lack of a white tail is a signal of their immaturity clearly visible to conspecifics – to an adult Nicobar Pigeon, it is obvious at a glance which flockmembers are neither potential mates, nor potential competitors for mates, nor old enough to safely guide a flock from one island to another.

This species nests in dense forest on offshore islets, often in large colonies. It builds a loose stick nest in a tree. It lays one elliptical faintly blue-tinged white egg.

Nicobar Pigeons are hunted in considerable numbers for food, and also for their gizzard stone which is used in jewelry. The species is also trapped for the local pet market, but as it is on CITES Appendix I, such trade is generally illegal. Internationally, captive breeding is able to supply the birds demanded by zoos, where this attractive and unusual bird is often seen. Direct exploitation of the species, even including the illegal trade, might be sustainable on its own; however, its available nesting habitat is decreasing.

For one thing, the offshore islets which it requires are often logged for plantations, destroyed by construction activity, or polluted by nearby industry or harbours. Also, increased travel introduces predators to more and more of the breeding sites, and colonies of the Nicobar Pigeon may be driven to desert such locations or be destroyed outright. Though the bird is widely distributed and in some locations very common – even on small Palau it is still reasonably plentiful, with an estimated 1,000 adult birds remaining –, its long-term future is increasingly being jeopardized. For these reasons, the IUCN considers C. nicobarica a Near Threatened species.

On the Nicobar Islands (which are referred to in its common and scientific names), the most significant colony in our time was found on Batti Malv, a remote wildlife sanctuary between Car Nicobar and Teressa. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami caused massive damage on the Nicobar Islands, and it is still not quite clear to what extent Batti Malv was affected. But while everything on some islets in the Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve was destroyed, Batti Malv lighthouse – a skeletal tower a dozen metres high, standing a few metres ASL at the highest point of the low-lying island – was little-damaged and put back in operation by the survey ship INS Sandhayak less than one month after the disaster. An April 2007 survey by the Indian Coast Guard vessel ICGS Vikram found the lighthouse tower "totally covered" in vines, indicating rampant regeneration of vegetation – but perhaps also that damage to the island's forest was severe, as a cover of creeping plants is typical of early succession stages, while a photo of the lighthouse taken before the tsunami shows rather mature forest.

Source: Wikipedia

bahadir, boreocypriensis, anel, nglen, eqshannon, jconceicao, goatman04, zulfu, maurydv, thor68, CeltickRanger, darwin, haraprasan, Argus, roges, siggi, Noisette, valy67, Tamrock has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Peter, wonderful shot of this lovely bird with wonderful composition.
TFS and greetings,

An awesome capture of this amazingly beautiful pigeon having such wonderful metallic colours Peter.
Great pose and delightfull composition with neat details on its plummage.
TFS and have an amusing WE MF!


  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3049 W: 3 N: 8714] (40568)
  • [2009-07-04 5:59]

Hello Peter,
What an amazing metallic-colored pigeon. It's the first time I see this bird. And it sems to be quite big!
Amazing nature, what a variety. It's not surprising that this species is hunted.
Thanks also for the interesting note. A little bit to read..:-)
Have a nice weekend

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-07-04 6:02]

Hi Peter. What a fantastic looking bird. The Nicobar Pigeon, is a bird i have never seen before so thanks for posting on TN. You have taken it with sharp focusing and fine detail. Your use of the light has given bright colours. Well done TFS.

Fine use of the flash for fill. It not only filled but brought out well teh sheen and glow in the coloured feathers. It appears that you have mastered well the flash...something many have not including me. Very nice image and good overall lesson!

  • Great 
  • tcr Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 155 W: 8 N: 540] (3302)
  • [2009-07-04 8:12]

Hello Peter.
Very well captured image of this pigeon.
Good POV, colour and sharpness.
Great work.

Hello Peter,

Fantastic photo.
Beautiful colours with great definition.
Light,focus and sharpness are splendid.
Good note.

Hello Peter,

A really beautiful capture of this colorful pigeon with great sharpness & details. Well done & TFS.



  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2009-07-04 8:48]

Hello Peter,
Beautiful shot of this lovely pigeon with nice details and composition.
TFS and G's,

Hello Peter,
a fantastic picture of this colourful Pigeon that i have never seen, superb sharpness and marvellous colours, POV, DOF and composition are excellent
Best regards

Excellent capture, sharp details, great colors and light and nice BG,
TFS and regards,

Merhaba Peter,tüylerinin renginde gözleri ile mavi mavi çok güzel bakmış,çok renkli ve çok güzel bir kuş ve çok güzel bir çekim,ellerine sağlık :)

hello Peter

it is the first time i am knowing this pigeon,
c'est la première fois que j'apprend sur cette espèce de pigeon,
excellent photo with fine POV at the level of the bird,
excellent sharpness and details of the beautiful plumage,
the catch-light render the photo more beautiful, TFS


  • Great 
  • darwin Gold Star Critiquer [C: 259 W: 0 N: 403] (1401)
  • [2009-07-04 18:37]

Hi Peter
Splendid presentation and wonderful use of flash to bring out the lovely metallic colors in the pigeons plumage.
Nice details and catchlite in eye.
tfs jon

Hi Peter,
A nice capture of this beautiful Nicobar Pigeon. Very good sharp details and a lovely composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5042 W: 260 N: 15594] (50624)
  • [2009-07-05 1:23]

Hello Peter,
The only time I have seen the Nicobar Pigeon is at the Singapore Bird Park in a walk-though aviary and admired its shining iridescent plumage that is well captured by you on this captive bird.
The colours and lighting are superb, but as you know I prefer your bird shots taken in the wild!
Thanks and all the best,

  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2009-07-05 5:20]

Hi Peter !
Splendid vangen enkele uitstekende kleuren.
Zeer duidelijk en goed gespeeld dit plaatje.
Ik zag nooit een dergelijk soort duif.
Een mooie zondag

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-07-05 9:34]

Hello Peter,
Another unique species well photographed and presented.Wonderful colors, sharp details, good pose and perfect composition.
Best regards Siggi

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2009-07-05 11:22]

Wow, Peter.
Beautiful shot of this exotic pigeon.
You did a great job of catching the iridescence on the feathers.
Lovely details.
TFS. : )

Hello Peter
You have taken a nice profil from this beautiful bird, i like the superb metalic colors of his feathers, this Nicobar Pigeon is very sharp detailed
great composition with fine DOF
Have a good night

Ciao Peter, splendid plumage with fantastic metallic colors, superb details and excellent sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

hello peter,
the colours of the feather makes this bird look different from the usual, liked the image for the detials of the plumage, the colours and the composition,
well done,
tfs & regards

Hallo Peter,
Je ne connaissais pas ce pigeon, il est de toute beauté
Bravo pour cette belle photo

Ciao Peter. You've relaized a masterpiece of light and colours. Stunning details. Indeed a great capture.


  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6695] (25837)
  • [2009-07-07 6:50]

Hi Peter,
a nice metallic green coloured pigeon. Lovely shot and excellent pose.
I like the great pretty eye and the overall colours. you presented it wonderfully.


  • Great 
  • briGG Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 195 W: 2 N: 344] (1823)
  • [2009-07-08 2:28]

Hello Peter,

It's a very strange "pigeon" for me! I've never seen this specie
Great capture and good technics!


  • Great 
  • valy67 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1727 W: 59 N: 3060] (9219)
  • [2009-07-09 15:24]

Hello Peter !
This is one beautiful Pigeon I had never seen before, his colors and feathers are truly splendid ! You also made an excellent capture. The sharpness and details, the colors, the composition and the use of flash are great. The note is very interesting to read, too. Very well done !

hi peter!
A colourful and very fine bird!
sharp and well composed pic
good work!

Peter, this is such a beautiful shot of this pigeon. You did a great job capturing it. Have a wonderful week, Bill

Hello Peter
I love the way you captured the iridescence of this Nicobar Pigeon. His plumage is really beautiful and love the way his feathers lay upon him. Sad to hear they are hunted and their gizzards are used in jewelry. A gorgeous pigeon. Good note.
TFS Janice

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