The Wild Life of the Nicobar Pigeon

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Order| Columbiformes

While it may come as a shock, the Nicobar Pigeon (Caloenas nicobarica) is indeed a Pigeon. It’s also the closest living relative of the now extinct Dodo bird!

These birds are named for an island chain of the coast of India where many of them live, though they can be found all the way to Palau or Solomon. Their island dwelling nature and lack of natural predators allowed them to develop an entrancing, iridescent plumage, but that has changed with the introduction of rats, cats, other non-native predators, and the pressures of human activity.

Once abundant, they are now listed as near threatened by the IUCN and are frequently captured for food, per trade, and because people use their gizzard stones (the rocks they have to swallow to help them grind up food) for jewelry.

They may be found alone, or in groups of nearly 30! Unlike the Dodo, they can fly—quite swiftly, actually—-but they feed on fruits and seeds it finds on the ground.

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