IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)


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Spinifex pigeon

Geophaps plumifera3 - Christopher Watson.jpg

The spinifex pigeon (Geophaps plumifera) is a bird found in Australia.

There are only two Australian pigeon species with an erect crest: the spinifex pigeon and the crested pigeon. The spinifex pigeon is the smaller of the two, measuring between 20 to 24 centimetres (8 to 9.6 inches). There are three races; the white-bellied spinifex pigeon, Geophaps plumifera plumifera, which is found in the arid areas of northwestern and northern Australia, Geophaps plumifera leucogaster with a variable extent of white on the belly, of central Australia and north-western Queensland, and the red-bellied spinifex pigeon, Geophaps plumifera ferruginea, which is found in the Pilbara, Western Australia.[2]

Otherwise, all races have plumage that is rusty-coloured and blends into the red soils of the arid areas. They also have a bright red facial patch around the eye with a ring of black and grey facial patches. The pigeons have black striations on their wings. The sexes are difficult to distinguish.

Generally they live in stony areas with low woodlands and spinifex grasses. They are nomadic and terrestrial. The pigeons are seed eaters and are dependent on waterholes recharged by wet season monsoonal rains and showers. As the dry season progresses, they concentrate around the ever-decreasing water sources. They are often found in pairs or groups.

Their flight is low and fast, often flipping and gliding in the flight. Their call is a soft, high-pitched coo or cooloo coo; a deep guttural coo-r-r-r.[3]

The species breeds in spring and summer or after rain. Two white eggs are laid in the shelter of a spinifex bush.[4]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Geophaps plumifera". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Morcombe, Michael (2000). Field Guide to Australian Birds. Archerfield Q.Australia: Steve Parish Publishing. p. 158. ISBN 174021417 X. 
  3. ^ Pizzey, G.; Knight F. (1997). Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Australia: HarperCollins. ISBN 0207196915. 
  4. ^ Trounsen, Trounsen. Australian Birds: A Concise Photographic Field Guide. Cameron House. ISBN 1-875999-47-7. 

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