Zoo Miami has announced its first successful hatching of a Victoria Crowned Pigeon! The single chick hatched on November 30 after being artificially incubated in the zoo’s brooder building for 28 days.
Victoria Crowned Pigeons are the world’s largest living pigeons, reaching a length of nearly 30 inches (76.2 cm) and weighing close to five pounds (2.27 kg). They are one of the closest living relatives of the now extinct Dodo bird. Found in the lowland forests of New Guinea and portions of Indonesia, these stunning birds are classified as Near Threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Species' Red List. Main threats are deforestation for logging as well as by hunting for food and their ornate feathers. These birds are found in small flocks on the forest floor foraging for seeds, fruit and snails. Distinguished by their ornate fan of crest feathers and deep red eyes, adults are mainly blue in color with accents of deep burgundy and small highlights of white.
Victoria Crowned Pigeons are monogamous birds that mate for life. The male courts the female by lowering and bobbing his head, fanning his tail, and emitting rapid booming sounds. He then brings the female sticks which she uses to construct a nest and both parents share in the incubation duties. Unlike most other birds, pigeons, both males and females, produce a special 'crop milk' which is used to feed the single chick for the first few weeks of its life. Once this chick is weaned, the hope is to introduce it into Zoo Miami’s “Wings of Asia” aviary exhibit.