Wonga Pigeon

Listen to audio

Habitat: Rainforest, Woodland, Forest, Coastal, Urban, Grassland

The Wonga Pigeon is found along the east coast of Australia, from south-eastern Queensland to West Gippsland, Victoria. The Wonga Pigeon is found in dense coastal forests, rainforests and scrubs. It is often seen in clearings near forests such as picnic areas, walking tracks, carparks and roadsides, as well as gardens that have bird feeders.

Wonga Pigeons make clearly visible ‘tracks’ by following exactly the same path each time they visit a feeding site. They can often call continuously for hours, their distinctive ‘whoop, whoop call echoing through the trees.

The Wonga Pigeon feeds on seeds of native and introduced plants as well as fallen fruit and the occasional insect. It forages exclusively on the ground, often walking long distances along well-defined routes. It mainly feeds in the early morning and late afternoon and sometimes forms large flocks where there is plenty of food.

The Wonga Pigeon is monogamous, with breeding pairs defending the area around the nest. Threat displays include bowing and clicking while walking towards an intruder. Nests are built in large trees, usually high off the ground, and are a saucer-shaped platform of twigs and sticks, lined with small twigs, vine tendrils and other soft plant materials. Will sometimes use the abandoned nests of Topknot Pigeons or Tawny Frogmouths. Both sexes incubate the eggs and feed the young. They use a special ‘cryptic posture’ when sitting on the nest, keeping their patterned tail raised high and facing any observers while peering over the tail to keep an eye on potential threats. This posture is also used when birds are flushed from cover and have flown to a perch. Adults feed the young by regurgitation and young birds will remain with the adults for some time after fledging but are fed less and less often.