Pigeon - Columbidae

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The family group of Columbidae covers birds like Pigeon & Doves, this group has 310 birds world wide of which 30 of them in South east Asia. The Pigeon themselves are divided into 3 groupings 1] Wood Pigeons, 2] Green Pigeons and lastly 3] Imperial Pigeons.

On this page, from that that larger number of Pigeon found in South East Asia, I have weed out only the Pigeons which were reported as sighted in Malaysia before and it is summarized as the list below

White-throated Pigeon Columba vitiensis  

Green Pigeons

Nicobar Pigeon Caloenas nicobarica   Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon Treron fulvicollis
      Little Green Pigeon Treron olax

Imperial Pigeons

  Pink-necked Green Pigeon Treron vernans
Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea   Orange-breasted Green Pigeon Treron bicinctus
Grey Imperial Pigeon Ducula pickeringii   Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra
Mountain Imperial Pigeon Ducula badia   Large Green Pigeon Treron capellei
Pied Imperial Pigeon Ducula bicolor   Yellow-vented Green Pigeon Treron seimundi
      Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon Treron sphenurus

At the first glance, it is  a long list of names of Pigeons that could be sighted in Malaysia. Most of which are Green Pigeon, and convey the impression that there must be lots of jungle Pigeons in Malaysia.

Later on as shown by the comparatively low number of pictures that I have in my possession, will be an indicator as to how few the numbers of species that could be spotted.

There are plenty of domesticated  pigeon flying in the urban area. Then there are also a good number of wild Pigeon seen too, in the rural area. These commonly seen Pigeon is one belonging to a single species of the Green Pigeon - the Pink-necked Green Pigeon. Perhaps  a couple of the wild species of this group, could be sighted on a chance meeting basis. Then for the large Imperial Pigeons, the Mountain Imperials is fairly common, whilst the Green Imperial is very rare. The Nicobar Pigeon rumored to exist in the Langkawai Island were hardly seen..


Green Pigeons

1. Little Green Pigeon   Treron olax

 Size & diagnostic markings:- As the name suggest, this bird is small pigeon as 20 cm. It has bluish grey hood, maroon mantle and most distinctive that orange patch on the upper breast.

 Distribution :- The birds originates from the Greater Sundas but now a resident in Malaysia and South Thailand. Though a resident, this bird is not seen often.
 Habitats & preferences:- The bird is a lowland forest bird that prefers wetlands but it also moves up to the hilly slopes. I think low hills with a wet forested patch would be the best bet.
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:-So far all the sightings were made is swampy areas but inland forest. Sighting in the same place not repeated. So I cannot place any name of places.
 My personal jottings :- Again one of those birds that I hardly met up with, which also means I have little to add apart from what is known from the book. The pictures on the page was taken from a wetlands of Rengit.
Record of bird's calls :-    and Videos

Little Green Pigeon  # 1

Little Green Pigeon  # 2

Little Green Pigeon  # 3

Little Green Pigeon  # 4

Little Green Pigeon  # 5

Little Green Pigeon  # 6

Little Green Pigeon  # 7

Little Green Pigeon  # 8

Little Green Pigeon  # 9

Little Green Pigeon  # 10

Little Green Pigeon  # 11

Little Green Pigeon  # 12

Little Green Pigeon  # 13

Little Green Pigeon  # 14

Little Green Pigeon  # 15

Little Green Pigeon  # 16

Little Green Pigeon  # 17

Little Green Pigeon  # 18

Little Green Pigeon  # 19

Little Green Pigeon  # 20

Little Green Pigeon  # 21

Little Green Pigeon  # 22

Little Green Pigeon  # 23

Little Green Pigeon  # 24

Little Green Pigeon  # 25

Little Green Pigeon  # 26

Little Green Pigeon  # 27

2. Orange-breasted Green Pigeon   Treron bicinctus

 Size & diagnostic markings:- At 29 cm long, marginally smaller than the Pink-necked Pigeon, this bird bears a lot of similarity with the more common Pink-necked Pigeon. Main difference is green head with slight grey stretch on its nape. The pink on the breast much less significant but the Orange patch is prominent. For the female, it is closer in looks with that of the Pink-necked except without the grey patch on the crown and nape.

 Distribution :-  Unlike the later which is a mangrove bird, this Orange-breasted is more a lowland forest edge and that of secondary forest This is the bird of the whole Indian sub-Continent and in Java & Bali. Very rarely sighted in Malaysia.
 Habitats & preferences:- Lowland forest with few human traffic. Hardly any encounter in many years
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:-The only time and only place where the pictures were taken was at the forest edge in Trengganu. Could I say that the bird was available on the east coast?
 My personal jottings :- I cannot tell you where to spot the bird as I am looking forward to getting more pictures. The couple of times encounter did not tell me much about their habits or habitats.
Record of bird's calls :-    and Videos

Orange-breasted Green  Pigeon  # 1

female Green  Pigeon  # 2

Orange-breasted Green Pigeon  # 3

3. Pink-necked Green Pigeon   Treron vernans

 Size & diagnostic markings:- About 30 cm long on the average, most distinguish would  be the grey head slowly switching over to a vinous-pink nape, neck and side of breast. Leaving the central part of breast as orange. The female has an uniform green throughout.

 Distribution :-  The Bird's home is the Sundas, Greater & Lesser, Philippines and Sulawesi. The bird is extremely common in urban garden. Smaller in number as they move in pair but commonly seen.
 Habitats & preferences:-This bird originally living is the lowlands coastal swamps, scrubs, cultivated areas and Mangrove forest have now migrated into Parks and and domestic backyards. All attracted by their favorite fruits, those from the Macarthur's Palm.
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:-You need not hunt for the bird as any forest areas, low hills with fruiting trees, the bird would be there in flocks. Preferred are tiny berries which is abundant as a wild trees of the secondary forest.
 My personal jottings :- So common that in reverse I was surprised to see them as common resident of the Mangrove forest. Don't know whether it is common among Pigeons, they seem to be staying as usual pair the whole year round. Though a common sight, they are beautiful bird with very soft murmuring song as call and not gregarious as described for Pigeon. This Pigeon in rural or forested area are moving in flocks of over 10 birds. They were more sensitive to keep their safe distances and fly off when excited by human movements. This could be the fact that they were targets of the hunters.
Record of bird's calls :-    and Videos

These Pigeons, normally are birds of the forest, they too had found the clump of MacArthur palm trees in my garden to be good enough for their forest home. Roosting and breeding in backyard gardens.

In the forest, the birds would gather in groups of 10-15 birds or even just a pair. In the urban environment, the birds were always in pair and not joined by any additional members at all times.

female  Green Pigeon  # 1

female Green  Pigeon  # 2

Pink-necked  Green Pigeon  # 3

Pink-necked Green Pigeon  # 4

female  Green Pigeon  # 5

female Green Pigeon  # 6

female Green Pigeon  # 7

Pink-necked Green Pigeon  # 8

Pink-necked Green Pigeon  # 9

Pink-necked Green Pigeon  # 10

female Green Pigeon  # 11

Pink-necked Green Pigeon  # 12

pair  Green Pigeon  # 16

pair  Green Pigeon  # 17

pair Green Pigeon  # 18

Pink-necked Green Pigeon  # 19

pair  Green Pigeon  # 20

Pink-necked Green Pigeon  # 21

Pink-necked Green Pigeon  # 22

Pink-necked Green Pigeon  # 23

Pink-necked Green Pigeon  # 24

pair  Green Pigeon  # 25

pair  Green Pigeon  # 26

pair Green Pigeon  # 27


4.Thick-billed Green Pigeon   Treron curvirostra curvirostra

 Size & diagnostic markings:- This Pigeon at 26 cm is a smaller bird when compared to the Pink-necked Pigeon. Diagnostic is the thick pale greenish bill with a red base. Greenish blue eyes eye ring. Grey crown and maroon mantle.

 Distribution :- The bird originates from the foothills of Himalayas and a narrow belt in South China down to Borneo and Sumatra. It is now a resident of Peninsula Malaysia. The name suggest that this is a sub-species for those birds seen in South Thailand and Peninsula. Though resident, with its low population, not easy to meet up with.
 Habitats & preferences:-This Pigeon at 26 cm is a smaller bird when compared to the Pink-necked Pigeon is the bird of deep forest preferably hilly slopes. Sometimes found in Mangrove forest as well..
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:-The bird was seen in one environment of the deep forest in Rengit then opposite to the mangrove forest of Kuala Selangor
 My personal jottings :- I have hardly seen the bird properly and all those occasion sighted, it flew off immediately upon detecting my presence. Seen as a lone bird without a partners and not in flocks. I have seen the bird in a few places, mainly lowlands but dense forest. Was not spotted again in the same places. This is a beautiful Pigeon with its bright beak and "big eyes".
Record of bird's calls :-    and Videos

This picture above gives an impression as to how the bird was sighted. High up and far away, explain why the pictures were so few and the final quality of the whatever pictures I have is far from desired. I am still hoping for the chance meeting when the bird would be much nearer and staying longer for more pictures.


Thick-billed Green Pigeon  # 1

Thick-billed Green Pigeon  # 2

Thick-billed Green Pigeon  # 3

Thick-billed Green Pigeon  # 4

Thick-billed Green Pigeon  # 5

Thick-billed Green Pigeon  # 6


Imperial Pigeon

 Imperial Pigeons are so-called as they are very large birds. Most species have light contrasting on the head, neck and belly then combined  with darker back and wings. These colors could be  shades of pinkish-gray or blue-ish gray with dark green, blue, or brown backs and wings. Imperial Pigeons dwell in trees of the undisturbed forest where they eat fruits and plant materials at the canopy.. They are also strong flyers and that's about all we could see every time we meet up with the birds. Shooting past at canopy level. Though they often gather is small flock but they are hardly heard.

5. Green Imperial Pigeon   Ducula aenea

 Size & diagnostic markings:- This is another large Pigeon at 40 cm but marginally smaller than the Mountain Imperial Pigeon. With identical looks of the Mountain Imperial but with dark metallic green upper part.

 Distribution :-  This is a bird of east India, Bangladesh, Andaman Seas. Then again in South China down to the Philippines and Greater Sundas. This is a rare bird sighted occasionally in Malaysia
 Habitats & preferences:- This birds stays in the deep lowland forest.
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- That also includes the Mangrove forest where I had seen them in Matang. But the largest gathering was sighted in the deep forest in Merapoh, Gua Musang area. According to Robson, in Malaysia itself, this bird prefers coastal region more than the hills.
 My personal jottings :- Though large and it should be an easier bird to detect but not this case. I think the bird moves less and better concealed with the green of its body color. So often the bird might have been where I was but meeting up with it was only by chance when the bird changed position.
Record of bird's calls :-    and Videos

Green Imperial Pigeon  # 2

Green Imperial Pigeon  # 3

6. Mountain Imperial Pigeon   Ducula badia badia

 Size & diagnostic markings:- Now this bird is the second one in the group for gigantic Pigeons. The Mountain Imperial Pigeon measuring close to 50 cm is the largest in the region. Mostly purplish-maroon mantle and wing cover over an otherwise whitish-buff upper part.

 Distribution :-  The bird is native in areas at the foot of the Himalayas and the Greater Sundas. It is a common resident in Malaysia.
 Habitats & preferences:- This is a bird of the sub-montane forest but also seen in low land forest. More often in the mountain as the name implies.
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:-This is a Pigeon of the deep forest usually in Sub-montane Frasers Hills and Genting Highlands itself. But this bird also visit the lowland forest. Couldn't believe it until the few pictures on the front rows were taken in Perdik, a lowland forest. The bird was there for the water hole among the large tree trunk.
 My personal jottings :- Good memorable experiences with this bird. The birds I met on few occasions were very tame. For example, I had one that one less than 10 feet away from me. Resting and feeding. Could see from the series of pictures that the bird stayed for the photo sessions. Most times when the birds sight were some safe distance off, they would stay for the photography session.

Have seen the bird nesting in Frasers Hills but never seen it moving in pairs, let alone in a flock

Record of bird's calls :-    and Videos:-

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 1

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 2

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 3

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 4

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 5

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 6

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 7

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 8

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 9

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 10

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 11

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 12

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 16

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 17

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 18

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 19

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 20

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 21

Mountain Imperial Pigeon  # 22

7. Rock Pigeon Columba livia intermedia

There are just too many Pigeons in public places. The authentic Rock Dove or Rock Pigeon is identified by the pale grey body and wings with two black bars on each wing. The rest of the Pigeons in varying colors that we see are either domestic or feral birds. The domestic Pigeon Columba livia domestica started off as a Rock Pigeon and over 5,000 years just like the way how the domestic poultry evolves becomes a stock of its own.

Rock Pigeon usually in pair are still wild birds that prefers rocky cliffs in semi open area. These birds are sedentary and rarely leave their local areas. Then there is the second and another group, the domestic Pigeon found the town square. They are used as pets and homing Pigeon and another name for them - fancy Pigeons. They are trained to alter their sedated habits for long distance traveling.

Lastly, many domestic Pigeon were released or escaped to form the 3rd and unwanted group of feral Pigeon. Feral pigeons live in an artificial environment and they too have another local name - Rat Pigeons. They have lived in our towns for so long now that it is hard to say they are not native. They are treated like  pariahs as they do not have fix habitats and the townspeople who feed them made them. They are tough birds as homing Pigeons which were well taken off in the past and later joined the feral Pigeon  could not survive their lifestyle.

The scarcity of the pure wild species is partly due to interbreeding with feral birds

 Size & diagnostic markings:- This is a large and bulky bird at 33 cm. The pure stock birds are grey with darker head and breast. The tail is black while the wings even lighter grey in shade with 2 broad black bands. The feathers at the neck glossy and varies from green to purple under the sunlight. Then the feral birds usually have white, brown and sometimes black as their colors.

 Distribution :-  The bird native lands start from North Africa, through Middle East to the Indian sub-continent, and then northern China. The feral population is very widespread and available throughout the world.
 Habitats & preferences:- This is obviously a low land bird that prefer cliffs but now available in open areas and urban settlements.
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:-This is now an urban bird and also a  scavenger. Being fed by the local population, the bird appear in town square, in front of temples and restaurants. The birds in pair or in small group is still back in their habits of being a forest bird. they appear in open areas of secondary forest near the sea.
 My personal jottings :- Other than the domestic fowl which have evolved, the Rock Pigeon is one bird that is not deliberately domesticated but staying together with humans on their own. Unfortunately, there is a larger feral population and their presence among the group gives an impression that these are home bred birds.
Record of bird's calls :-    and Videos:-
Rock Pigeon  # 1 Rock Pigeon  # 2 Rock Pigeon  # 3
Rock Pigeon  # 4 Rock Pigeon  # 5 Rock Pigeon  #  6
Rock Pigeon  # 7 Rock Pigeon  # 8 Rock Pigeon  # 9
Rock Pigeon  # 10 Rock Pigeon  # 11 Rock Pigeon  # 12
Rock Pigeon  # 16 feral variant  # 17 feral variant  # 18
feral variant  # 19 feral variant  # 20 feral variant  # 21
feral variant  # 22 feral variant  # 23 feral variant  # 24
feral variant  # 25 feral variant  # 26 feral variant  #27

8. Nicobar Pigeon   Caloenas nicobarica

 Size & diagnostic markings:- This fairly large Pigeon at 40 cm with fluffy feather makes the bird appeared larger than it actual size. An all dark dark plumage and with short white tail. Distinctive is the head and neck bearing golden green and blue gloss feathers.

 Distribution :-  The bird is found in the area of the Andaman, Nicobar Island and the hinterland of Greater and Lesser Sundas.
 Habitats & preferences:- The bird chooses uninhabited islands and basically a ground bird.
 In Malaysia, where can the bird be found:- So far only the forest on the islands around Langkawai reputed to hide this birds
 My personal jottings :-  It spends more time on the ground having lifestyle similar to that of the jungle fowl. The bird is so shy that it is only found on isolated Islands or area with little human activities. Very little is known about the bird. It is a resident of the Islands in the north since Langkawai is in the beginning of the Andaman Seas. How to see the bird again? Hopefully those professionals in Langkawai Island has the latest information
Record of bird's calls :-    and Videos

Nicobar Pigeon  # 1

Nicobar Pigeon  # 2

Nicobar Pigeon  # 3

Nicobar Pigeon  # 4

Nicobar Pigeon  # 5


This is  short tour how readily are the Pigeons in Malaysian sighted. Judging from those birds which I am having plenty of  pictures to those species of Pigeon where I just had a couple of shots for the records.

While domesticated pigeon are seen in abundance at temple ground and urban streets, the wild pigeon on the contrary are not easily sighted. Even at the forest edge or deep jungle. Reflected in this page, the omission to mention the many more species plus the scantily of available pictures for the few cited, is testimony as to how rarely seen are these wild Pigeons.

I will keep adding them as I get new pictures for updates