Pale-capped pigeon

   ›      ›   Pale-capped pigeon - Columba punicea

The pale-capped pigeon (Columba punicea) belongs to the family of doves and pigeons, Columbidae.

These pigeon species are distributed in India, Bangladesh and Southeast Asian countries. The current population of the pale-capped pigeon species is estimated to be less than 10,000 birds and is under decline. These pigeon species are listed as "Vulnerable" to extinction by the IUCN. These birds are monotypic species.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Pale-capped Pigeon Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Pale-capped pigeon - Overview

  • Scientific name: Columba punicea
  • Species author: Blyth, 1842
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Columba (Alsocomus) puniceus Blyth, 1842, Alsocomus puniceus
  • Family: Columbidae › Columbiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Pale-capped pigeon, Chinese: 紫林鸽, French: Pigeon marron, German: Kupfertaube, Spanish: Paloma purpúrea, Russian: Пурпурный голубь, Japanese: ムラサキモリバト, Malay: Burung Pergam Haji
  • Other names: purple wood pigeon
  • Distribution: India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Malaysia
  • Diet and feeding habits: fruits, berries, figs, shoots, seeds, grains
  • IUCN status listing: Vulnerable (VU)
The pale-capped pigeon (Columba punicea) is closely related to Columba pulchricollis, Columba elphinstonii, Columba torringtoniae and Columba argentina.

Appearance, physical description and identification

The pale-capped pigeon (Columba punicea) is a large pigeon, measuring about 35 to 40 cm in length and weighing 370 to 510 grams.

The pale-capped pigeon species have purplish-maroon plumage on the upperparts. The underparts, ear-coverts and throat are pinkish chestnut in color. The side of the neck is slaty gray and has faint green gloss. The undertail is slaty gray.

The irises are yellowish and the eye ring is red. The base of the bill and legs are crimson. The male pale-capped pigeon have whitish gray crown. The rump, flight feathers and uppertail are dark blackish gray. The females have more grayish crown. Their call is a repetitive "rhuhu" sound.
Indian birds - Pale-capped pigeon - Columba punicea
Birds of India - Pale-capped pigeon - Columba punicea

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The pale-capped pigeon species are distributed in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. The population in mainland China is possibly extinct.

In India, these pale-capped pigeon species occur in the states of Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur.

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of the pale-capped pigeon species in Bangladesh are Lawachara and West Bhanugach Reserved Forest. The IBA in China are Diaoluoshan, Jianfengling and Yinggeling.

The IBA of pale-capped pigeon in India are Chandaka - Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary, Dibru - Saikhowa Complex, Upper Dihing (West) Complex, Upper Dihing (East) Complex, Dichu Reserve Forest, Simlipal National Park, Namsangmukh - Borduria, Kaziranga National Park, Nameri National Park, Magu Thingbu, Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary and Mehao Wildlife Sanctuary.

The IBA of the pale-capped pigeon species in Vietnam are Tuyen Lam, Phuoc Binh, Ea So, Dak Dam, Bi Dup and A Yun Pa. The IBA in Thailand are Thung Kha, Mu Ko Similan, Ko Phra Thong and Hat Nopharat Thara - Mu Ko Phi Phi. The IBA of pale-capped pigeon in Myanmar are Hlawga Wildlife Park and Hlawga Lake.

Ecosystem and habitat

The pale-capped pigeon species are moderately forest dependent. These species occur in altitudes from 0 to 1600 meters. The pale-capped pigeons inhabit artificial ecosystems like arable lands, agricultural fields and plantations.

The natural ecosystems of pale-capped pigeon include primary or secondary evergreen forests, tropical and subtropical dry deciduous forests, tropical and subtropical mangrove vegetation, tropical and subtropical moist lowlands, tropical and subtropical montane forests and tropical and subtropical moist shrublands.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these pale-capped pigeon species is mostly fruits. Wild fruits, berries, figs, bamboo seeds and grains are their primary food. These species forage in the mornings and evenings and rest in the heat of the day.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these pale-capped pigeon species is from May to August in India. Peak breeding takes place in July. The nest is a flimsy platform made of twigs. It is usually located on lower branches of trees or on tall bushes. The typical clutch contains one egg. Very rarely two eggs have been observed.

Migration and movement patterns

The pale-capped pigeon is a non-migratory resident bird.

Post breeding, the juvenile pale-capped pigeons may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range. In response to food availability sometimes they become nomadic.

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the pale-capped pigeon (Columba punicea) is estimated to be around 3,500 to 15,000 individual birds. The overall population trend of these species is considered to be under decline. Throughout its range it is reported to be uncommon to rare. The generation length is 5.6 years. Their distribution size is about 3,050,000

The pale-capped pigeon (Columba punicea) has approached the thresholds for being Vulnerable, under the range size criterion, under the population trend criterion and also under the population size criterion. Loss of habitat and hunting pressure are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these pale-capped pigeon species.

IUCN and CITES status

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the pigeon species and has listed it as "Vulnerable". CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the pale-capped pigeon (Columba punicea).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Columba punicea
Species:C. punicea
Binomial name:Columba punicea
IUCN status listing:
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Image source:
Image author: Henrik Grönvold | License: Public domain
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