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Uncovering the Beauty of the Bronze-naped Pigeon: Identification Behavior and Conservation Efforts

Birds have always fascinated us, with their colorful feathers, melodious songs, and graceful movements. Among them, the Bronze-naped Pigeon or Columba iriditorques stands out as a unique species that breeds in Southeast Asia.

This bird has a distinct coloration that makes it easily recognizable in the wild, and its behavior and habitat have been studied by ornithologists and birdwatchers for many years. In this article, we will provide an in-depth look at the Bronze-naped Pigeon, covering topics such as field identification, plumages, and molts.

Through this, we hope to educate and inspire our readers to appreciate the beauty and diversity of our avian neighbors.

Identification

Field Identification

The Bronze-naped Pigeon can be identified by its striking plumage, which consists of a metallic greenish-black head and neck, bronze-green upperparts, and a whitish belly. Its wings are entirely dark, with no visible pattern, and its tail is blackish with white tips.

Its bill and feet are pinkish, and it has a dark eye with a narrow white ring around it. In flight, the Bronze-naped Pigeon shows a pale band on its underwing coverts, and its wings produce a whistling sound.

Its size ranges from 35 to 38 cm, and it weighs around 350-370 g.

Similar Species

The Bronze-naped Pigeon can sometimes be confused with other pigeon species, such as the Rock Pigeon, Oriental Turtle Dove, and Spotted Dove. To distinguish it from these species, look for its distinctive metallic head and neck, its dark wings and tail, and its pale underwing coverts.

The Oriental Turtle Dove has a similar shape and size but has a darker back and rump, and a distinctive black and white patch on its neck. The Spotted Dove is smaller and has a pale buffy-brown back with black spots.

The Rock Pigeon is larger and has more variations in plumage color, including blue-gray, beige, and white.

Plumages

The Bronze-naped Pigeon has a unique plumage that does not vary much between sexes and ages. Adult birds have a metallic greenish-black head and neck with a bronze-green upperparts, and a white belly.

Their wings are entirely dark, with no visible pattern, and their tails are blackish with white tips. Juvenile birds have a duller plumage, with less metallic sheen on their heads and necks.

As they mature, their feather colors become more vibrant, and they acquire their distinctive metallic shine. The coloration of their underparts may also brighten as they age.

Molts

Like most birds, the Bronze-naped Pigeon undergoes molts, which are periods of feather replacement. They molt twice a year, in autumn and spring, and these molts take about two months to complete.

During molting, their feather growth is synchronized, and their old feathers are replaced with new ones. The molt usually starts with the head and neck feathers and then progresses to the rest of the body.

The new feathers are usually more vibrant and colorful than the old ones, giving the bird a fresh appearance.

Conclusion

The Bronze-naped Pigeon, with its striking plumage and unique metallic shine, is a species that captivates birdwatchers and nature lovers alike. Its distinctive coloration and behavior make it easy to identify in the wild, and its molts add an extra layer of interest to its appearance.

By understanding the characteristics and habits of this species, we can appreciate its beauty and the role it plays in its ecosystem. We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of the Bronze-naped Pigeon and inspired you to explore the world of avian life.

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Systematics History

The Bronze-naped Pigeon or Columba iriditorques belongs to the family Columbidae, which includes more than 300 species worldwide. The genus Columba, to which this bird belongs, contains about 35 species distributed across Eurasia and Africa.

The taxonomy of the Bronze-naped Pigeon has undergone several changes over time, but it is currently classified as a distinct species.

Geographic Variation

The Bronze-naped Pigeon is widespread throughout its range, which includes Southeast Asia, from Myanmar and Thailand in the west to the Philippines and Indonesia in the east. Within this range, there is significant geographic variation in their plumage, body size, and vocalizations.

Based on these differences, several subspecies have been recognized.

Subspecies

There are currently six recognized subspecies of the Bronze-naped Pigeon:

1. C.

i. iriditorques – Found in Luzon, the main island of the Philippines, and has the brightest metallic colors of all the subspecies.

2. C.

i. johnstoniae – Found in the northern Philippines, and is smaller than the nominate subspecies, with a more bronze-green sheen on its plumage.

3. C.

i. niveiceps – Found in Palawan, the westernmost island of the Philippines, and has a paler head and neck color than the other subspecies.

4. C.

i. fugaensis – Found only on Fuga Island in the northern Philippines, and has a brighter metallic sheen than other subspecies.

5. C.

i. guimarasensis – Found only on Guimaras Island in the central Philippines, and is smaller and has a more bluish-gray color on the neck and upperparts than other subspecies.

6. C.

i. mindorensis – Found on Mindoro, an island in the central Philippines, and has a more coppery-green sheen on its plumage than the other subspecies.

Related Species

The Bronze-naped Pigeon is closely related to several other species of pigeons within the genus Columba. One of its closest relatives is the Ashy Wood Pigeon or Columba pulchricollis, which is found from the Himalayas to Southeast Asia.

The Ashy Wood Pigeon is larger and has a distinctive gray head and neck with a coppery-green sheen on its upperparts and a pale underbelly. Another closely related species is the White-bellied Green Pigeon or Treron sieboldii, which is found in Southeast Asia and has a green-and-white plumage and a distinctive golden-yellow eye-ring.

Historical Changes to Distribution

The Bronze-naped Pigeon has a long history of human exploitation in Southeast Asia, and its distribution has been affected by habitat loss and hunting. In the Philippines, the bird has been traditionally hunted for food and as a game bird, and its feathers and eggs are also collected by locals for decorative and medicinal purposes.

In recent years, deforestation and habitat destruction have greatly affected the bird’s population, as their breeding and feeding habitat is threatened by increased human activity. With the expansion of agriculture and deforestation, the Bronze-naped Pigeon’s range has become fragmented, and some populations have disappeared entirely.

In Thailand, for example, the bird was once found in the northern and central regions, but it is now restricted to a few sites in the southern provinces. In Myanmar, the bird is known from a few scattered populations in the east, but its presence in the western and northern parts of the country is uncertain.

Despite the challenges, conservation efforts are underway to protect the Bronze-naped Pigeon and its habitat. The bird has been added to the International Union for

Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, and several protected areas have been established to safeguard their breeding and feeding habitat.

These efforts, coupled with increased awareness of the bird’s cultural and ecological importance, may help to conserve this unique and beautiful species for future generations. , as the article is designed to be a standalone piece that provides all necessary information within its body.

Habitat

The Bronze-naped Pigeon is a forest-dwelling species that occurs in a variety of habitats, from lowland rainforest to montane evergreen forest. It can also be found in secondary growth, agricultural fields, and parks and gardens.

The bird tends to prefer areas with an abundance of fruiting trees, which provide a major food source for the birds. Within their range, the Bronze-naped Pigeon is a fairly common bird, but it is generally shy and elusive, preferring to remain within the dense canopy of trees.

Movements and Migration

The Bronze-naped Pigeon is a non-migratory bird that is generally sedentary within its range. However, seasonal movements have been observed among some populations, particularly in response to food availability and breeding activity.

In Thailand and Myanmar, for example, the bird may disperse to lower altitudes during the winter months when fruiting trees are more abundant. Likewise, in the Philippines, some populations may move to different islands depending on food availability and breeding conditions.

Breeding populations of the Bronze-naped Pigeon can be found throughout its range, with breeding activity generally occurring during the dry season. In the Philippines, breeding activity has been observed from October to March, although some populations may breed at different times depending on local conditions.

The bird is monogamous, and pairs bond for life. Nest sites are typically located in the canopy of trees, and the birds construct a flimsy stick platform for the eggs.

Clutch size is usually one or two eggs, and both parents share incubation duties. The young hatch after about 16-18 days and are fed by regurgitation from both parents.

Fledging occurs after about 18-21 days, and the young are dependent on their parents for several weeks after fledging.

Conservation

The Bronze-naped Pigeon has been classified as a species of Least Concern, according to the International Union for

Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, it is currently under threat due to habitat loss and hunting in some parts of its range.

In the Philippines, the bird is listed as a protected species under the Wildlife Act, and hunting and trade in the species are strictly regulated. Nevertheless, hunting and illegal trade still pose significant threats to some populations, especially in the more remote and less regulated areas of the country.

Additionally, habitat loss due to deforestation and development has become a major issue for the Bronze-naped Pigeon. In Thailand and Myanmar, the bird’s range has become increasingly fragmented due to deforestation and agricultural expansion.

Some populations have disappeared entirely, and others are severely threatened. In response, several protected areas have been established to conserve the bird’s habitat, such as the Khao Yai National Park in Thailand and the Moeyungyi Wildlife Sanctuary in Myanmar.

These protected areas not only help to preserve the Bronze-naped Pigeon but also provide habitat for other threatened bird and animal species. In conclusion, the Bronze-naped Pigeon is a unique and beautiful bird that plays an important ecological and cultural role within its range.

Its specialized habitat requirements and behaviors make it vulnerable to habitat loss and hunting pressure, and conservation efforts are needed to ensure its continued survival. Through public education, habitat protection, and effective enforcement of wildlife laws, we can work together to protect this bird for future generations.

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Diet and Foraging

Feeding

The Bronze-naped Pigeon is primarily frugivorous, relying on a variety of fruits for its sustenance. The bird feeds primarily on fruits found within the canopy of trees, and rarely feeds on the ground or in open habitats.

Its bill is adapted for taking fruit, with a serrated edge that allows it to grip and pluck fruit from branches. The bird may also supplement its diet with seeds, flowers, and insects, although these food items make up a relatively small portion of its diet.

Diet

The specific fruits consumed by the Bronze-naped Pigeon vary depending on the region and season. Fruits commonly consumed include figs, laurels, and myrtles, as well as other large, fleshy fruits.

In some regions, where fruits are scarce, the bird may resort to eating smaller fruits or even leaves. In captivity, the Bronze-naped Pigeon has been observed to consume a variety of fruits, including peaches, grapes, pears, and apples.

The bird typically consumes large quantities of fruit, which can make up as much as 90% of its daily dietary intake.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

The Bronze-naped Pigeon is a relatively large bird, and its metabolism is adaptable to the bird’s frugivorous diet. The bird is able to digest a wide range of fruits and cope with the high levels of sugar that come with such a diet.

The bird’s metabolic rate is also adapted to minimize heat loss, which is important for a bird that lives primarily in the canopy of trees. As with many birds, the Bronze-naped Pigeon is able to regulate its body temperature through a combination of physiological and behavioral means.

The bird may adjust its position in the sun or shade, regulate its breathing rate, or even fluff its feathers to maintain its body temperature.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Vocalization

The Bronze-naped Pigeon has a limited vocal repertoire, with the male and female sexes producing slightly different calls. The male’s call is a deep, resonating “hoo-hoo-hoo” that is generally inflected upwards at the end.

The female’s call is higher-pitched and more nasal, sounding like a “hah-hah-hah” call. The vocalizations of the Bronze-naped Pigeon are used primarily for communication between mates, and to announce their presence in the canopy.

The bird is generally not very vocal outside of the breeding season, preferring to remain silent and hidden within the dense trees. When threatened or disturbed, the Bronze-naped Pigeon may emit a loud, explosive clapping sound, produced by the sudden closing of its wings.

This sound can startle predators or intruders and may be used as a warning to other birds in the area. In conclusion, the Bronze-naped Pigeon is a unique species with specific habitat requirements and a specialized diet.

Its frugivorous diet and efficient metabolism allow it to thrive in the dense canopies of trees within its range, while its limited vocal repertoire serves as a means of communication within the breeding pair. Through effective conservation efforts, we can ensure the continued survival of this species and protect its vital role within Southeast Asia’s ecosystems.

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Behavior

Locomotion

The Bronze-naped Pigeon is primarily arboreal, and its locomotion is adapted for moving through the dense canopy of trees. The bird is able to climb along branches using its feet and bill, and is also able to fly short distances from tree to tree.

The wing flaps of the Bronze-naped Pigeon produce a distinct whistling sound, which is used as a means of communication between individuals within the canopy. When flying, the bird is able to maneuver through the trees with agility and skill, using its long tail to help balance and steer its movement.

Self-Maintenance

The Bronze-naped Pigeon engages in several self-maintenance behaviors, including preening, bathing, and sunning. Preening is essential for maintaining feather quality, and the bird spends a considerable amount of time grooming its feathers with its bill.

Bathing is also important, and the bird may bathe in shallow pools of water or in rain puddles. Sunning is another behavior observed in the Bronze-naped Pigeon, and the bird may perch in sunny areas to regulate its body temperature and dry its feathers.

Agonistic Behavior

The Bronze-naped Pigeon is generally a peaceful bird, but it does exhibit agonistic behavior toward other birds during the breeding season or when defending its territory. These behaviors may include wing-flapping, bill-pecking, or chasing.

The bird also produces a loud clapping sound with its wings when startled or threatened.

Sexual Behavior

The Bronze-naped Pigeon is a monogamous bird, and pairs bond for life. During the breeding season, males engage in courtship displays that include cooing, spreading their wings, and puffing up their feathers.

The males also bring twigs and other nesting material to the female, signaling their readiness to mate. After mating, the female constructs a flimsy platform nest made of sticks and leaves in the canopy of trees.

Both parents share incubation duties, and the young are fed by regurgitation from both parents.

Breeding

Breeding populations of the Bronze-naped Pigeon can be found throughout its range, with breeding activity generally occurring during the dry season. The bird is monogamous, and pairs bond for life.

Nest sites are typically located in the canopy of trees, and the birds construct a flimsy stick platform for the eggs. Clutch size is usually one or two eggs, and both parents share incubation duties.

The young hatch after about 16-18 days and are fed by regurgitation from both parents. Fledging occurs after about 18-21 days, and the young are dependent on their parents for several weeks after fledging.

Demography and Populations

The Bronze-naped Pigeon has a relatively stable population within its range, with no significant population declines

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