Southern crowned-pigeon -- 紫胸风冠鸠 (Goura scheepmakeri)

Southern crowned-pigeon
Loading more images and videos...

Southern crowned-pigeon fact file

Southern crowned-pigeon description

GenusGoura (1)

It is hard to believe that this stunning bird is related to the rather drab pigeon seen on the streets of England every day. The striking headdress of blue-grey, lacy feathers is the southern crowned-pigeon’s most prominent feature, with the rest of the plumage also primarily blue-grey, and its breast and belly a rich maroon. A black ‘mask’ sits around the red eyes and its legs and feet are purplish-red (2) (4).

Also known as
maroon-breasted crowned pigeon, masked goura, Scheepmaker’s crowned-pigeon.
Paloma Crestada de Scheepmaker.
Male length: 68 – 73 cm (2)
Female length: 66 – 70 cm (2)
2,250 g (2)

Southern crowned-pigeon biology

A fairly sociable species, the southern crowned-pigeon is usually encountered in small groups of three to seven individuals, although large flocks of up to 30 have been observed in the past (2). In these parties, they search on the forest floor for fallen fruits and seeds, and also feed on small crabs found on muddy river banks (2) (4). During the hottest part of the day, the southern crowned-pigeon perches in dense shrubs, attempting to escape the tropical heat (2). If disturbed, the southern crowned-pigeon will often run for cover, but if sufficiently alarmed, it will fly to a perch in a large tree and will remain there, nervously wagging its tail (2) (4).

Breeding in the southern crowned-pigeon has been observed from September to early November, but the breeding season is probably longer than this. A well-built, neat nest made of sticks, dead stems and palm leaves with a shallow depression lined with leaves, is situated 4 to 15 metres above ground on a tree branch. Into this nest a single, white egg is laid (2). Like other pigeons, the southern crowned pigeon produces crop-milk, a nutritious secretion from the lining of the crop, which is regurgitated to feed the chick (6).


Southern crowned-pigeon range

The southern crowned-pigeon occurs in the southern lowlands of New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea) (5).


Southern crowned-pigeon habitat

The southern crowned-pigeon inhabits dry and flooded forest, from the flat floodplains up to 500 metres in the foothills (2)


Southern crowned-pigeon status

The southern crowned-pigeon is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1), and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Southern crowned-pigeon threats

Historically, the southern crowned-pigeon was a common species, but it has become scarcer as trapping and hunting take their toll (2). They are an easy and highly prized target for local hunters who kill them for their meat and feathers, capture live young birds to be kept as pets (4), or use in traditional ceremonies (7), or sell them internationally as the southern crowned-pigeon is a popular aviary bird (4). The southern crowned-pigeon has been hunted to extinction throughout much of its range in the south-east and now survives only in forests far away from towns, villages and roads, and the associated threat of humans. Unfortunately, its preferred habitat is also highly desired by timber companies and as logging opens up more remote areas, creating access for hunters, the southern crowned-pigeon is likely to become increasingly threatened (2) (5).


Southern crowned-pigeon conservation

The southern crowned-pigeon is protected by law in Papua New Guinea (5), and it is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), meaning that international trade in this species should be carefully monitored (3). In addition, the Papua New Guinea Department of Environment and Conservation has initiated conservation efforts, including educating local people in forest management (4). Further research into this handsome bird and efforts to protect its critical habitat has been recommended (5).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

For further information on the southern crowned-pigeon see:



Authenticated (04/06/08) by Jonathan S. Walker, Ph.D., Director, Columbidae Conservation.



The crop is an expanded, muscular pouch near the throat. It is a part of the digestive tract, and is used to temporarily store food.


  1. IUCN Red List (September, 2007)
  2. Gibbs, D., Barnes, E. and Cox, J. (2001) A Guide to the Pigeons and Doves of the World. Pica, Robertsbridge.
  3. CITES (October, 2007)
  4. Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1997) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol.4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  5. BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.
  6. Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
  7. Walker, J.S. (2008) Pers. comm.

Image credit

Southern crowned-pigeon  
Southern crowned-pigeon

© Kenneth W. Fink /

Ardea wildlife pets environment
59 Tranquil Vale
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 208 318 1401


Link to this photo

Arkive species - Southern crowned-pigeon (Goura scheepmakeri) Embed this Arkive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to Arkive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about



MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite Arkive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!


Back To Top