Found across diverse habitats, the Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera) adapts to most environment, if there is sufficient food and water present. They can often be seen at water sources, especially in the arid and semi-arid desert regions.
Recognised by the iridescent patches of metallic coloured feathers on the outer part of its wings, the Common Bronzewing is a large, bulky-bodied pigeon with a small head. Their pinkish-grey breast, light brown nape and back, and pale throat, make them easy to distinguish from other similar species.
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.
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.
Images © Dorothy L
- Scientific classification
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Columbiformes
- Family: Columbidae
- Genus: Phaps
- Species: P. chalcoptera
- Binomial name: Phaps chalcoptera