Aussie Bird Count

What bird is that? Crested Pigeons vs Topknot Pigeons

Wednesday, 11 October 2023

  • Estimated reading time 5min

How to tell the difference between commonly confused birds: Crested Pigeons vs. Topnknot Pigeons

In the leadup to this year’s Aussie Backyard Bird Count, our very own National Public Affairs Manager Sean Dooley is talking us through how to tell the difference between commonly confused backyard birds.

In this video, Sean Dooley is back and this time, it’s Crested Pigeons vs Topknot Pigeons!

Put your knowledge to the test, register to take part in the 2023 Aussie Bird Count.

See below for the full video transcript. 


Sean Dooley (00:01):

Two of the birds that people mix up quite often are the Crested Pigeon and the Topknot Pigeon, but it’s not because they look similar.

Sean Dooley (00:14)
The Crested Pigeon is the punk pigeon. It has the black spiky bit on the top of its head. It’s a small pigeon, and it’s found throughout pretty much all of Australia. The Topknot Pigeon is a large rainforest pigeon. It’s quite dark on the back, and it has, like a Crested Pigeon, a red eye, but that’s about the only similar feature. It does have, instead of the punk spike, it’s actually got kind of like a rockabilly Elvis type quiff that goes back behind its head.

Sean Dooley (00:48)
They do occur together along the east coast, but the habitat is usually really different. The Topknot pigeon is a rainforest bird, and when it is found in people’s yards, it’s usually feeding in tall trees, tall fruiting trees like figs or lilly pillies or the like. The Crested pigeon is a ground-dwelling bird, and it’s found often on ovals and golf courses and nature strips. So where’s the confusion? It’s because a lot of people, especially those who grew up in the country, might’ve known the Crested Pigeon as the Topknot. But here’s the tip, the Crested is the punk pigeon, and the Topknot is the rockabilly.

Register to take part in the 2023 Aussie Bird Count.