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Common Bronzewing

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Common Bronzewing

Common Bronzewing - Male

Ian Montgomery

In many parts of the world, doves and pigeons are relatively bland birds, but the common bronzewing of Australia has some of the most colorful plumage of any pigeon in the world. One look at its iridescent wings, and no birder will think there's anything "common" about this bird.

Common Name:

Common Bronzewing, Bronzewing, Scrub Bronzewing

Scientific Name:

Phaps chalcoptera

Appearance:

  • Bill: Black, thick, curved
  • Size: 13 inches long with 20-23-inch wingspan, stocky build
  • Colors: Gray, black, buff, white, blue-gray, red, pink, iridescent
  • Markings: Dimorphic species. Males have a gray body with a buff forehead and pink wash on the breast. A thick white line runs beneath the eye and around the cheek. The dark wings have buff edges and show iridescent tips that may appear green, blue, violet, red, orange or yellow in good light. The blue-gray tail has a dark subterminal band. Legs and feet are red. Females are similar but have a gray forehead, lack the pinkish breastand show less wing iridescence.

Foods:

Seeds, insects, fruit

Habitat and Migration:

These are adaptable pigeons that can be found in most habitats throughout Australia except the deepest rainforests or the most arid open scrub areas. They prefer open woodland with some low scrub shelter, and they are typically found near water sources, including in parks or gardens. Common bronzewings can also be found in Tasmania and nearby islands.

Vocalizations:

These are generally quiet pigeons, though their wings will rattle on a rapid takeoff. The most familiar call is a single deep pitch, repeated "whoooo" or "oooom" that lasts approximately 1 second but is repeated at regular intervals for longer time periods.

Behavior:

Common bronzewings are shy birds and are generally cautious, though not skittish, around humans. They feed on the ground, often scratching through leaf litter in their preferred low scrub habitat, and will freeze if threatened, flushing into rapid flight only when a predator approaches more closely. These birds are frequently solitary but may be found in pairs or small groups near superior water sources and feeding areas.

Reproduction:

These birds have a bowing courtship display that allows males to display the iridescence on their wings. After mating, both parents will incubate the clutch of 2-3 eggs for 14-17 days, and both parents will care for the altricial young for 20-30 days after hatching. Like all pigeons, they feed their chicks regurgitated crop milk when very young. Because these birds can breed year-round, they often raise multiple broods annually.

Attracting Common Bronzewings:

These are adaptable birds that will readily come to backyards offering ground or low seed feeders and clean water sources. Bird-friendly landscaping for common bronzewings should include low bushes to help the birds feel secure, and leaving leaf litter in place will provide ample foraging areas.

Similar Birds:

  • Brush Bronzewing (Phaps elegans)
  • Flock Bronzewing (Phaps histrionica)

Photos – Common Bronzewings – Male and Female © Ian Montgomery, birdway.com.au

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