A large pigeon, the Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera) is recognised by the iridescent patches of metallic green, blue, purple, red and yellow gold-coloured feathers on the outer part of its wings, although some Bronzewings exhibit only some of these colours.

They are large, bulky-bodied pigeons with small heads. The male of the species has a yellow-white forehead and pink breast and both sexes have a white line below and around the eye. They are easy to distinguish from other similar species by their pinkish-grey breast, the light brown nape and back, and pale throat.

A cautious pigeon, they are hard to approach and if startled, will fly away with a clatter. The young Common Bronzewing is duller and browner than the adults, whilst the metallic wing patch is absent or not easily seen.

The Common Bronzewing are found across a diverse habitat and temperature range, adaptable to most environment, as long as there is sufficient food and water. In the desert regions of Australia, the can be seen in mulga country, arid scrubs and mallee.

They are often seen alone or in pairs, occasionally in small groups, and rarely far from water. They forage for seeds such as native grasses, acacia and cassia. The seeds from wattle trees appear to be a favoured food. When conditions are good, they can breed all year round,

They can breed all year round to take advantage of good conditions and use a vast array of nesting sites. They build untidy nests made of sticks and twigs. Their nest sites can be low in a bush, to up high in a tree, up to 20 metres above ground level. The female lay two white eggs per clutch, with an incubation period of about 16 days. Both parents take turn incubating the eggs, as well as caring for the young. Bronzewings, like other pigeons, secrete a special milk-like substance from their crop, that is fed to the young chicks.

Images © Dorothy L

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Columbiformes
  • Family: Columbidae
  • Genus: Phaps
  • Species: P. chalcoptera
  • Binomial name: Phaps chalcoptera