Tuesday, 14 September 2010

pink-necked green pigeon (Treron vernans)

Lately, I noticed the sounds of flapping wings amongst the trees outside my study room window. Initially I passed them off as being a flock of Javan Mynahs as they are a common occurrence in the area, along with the Asian Koels, the White Breasted Kingfisher, the Pink Breasted Parakeet and the Golden Orioles. But upon a closer look, I realised that they were the sounds of greenish pigeons feeding on the berries of a tree which I suspect is the Indian Cherry tree the Pithraj tree or Aphanamixis polystachys. This tree is native to India and can grow fairly tall to a height between 20 and 30m. They are fairly common in my area and most are currently fruiting, which explains why there are flocks of different species of birds roosting and feeding near the crown of the tree.

The Pinked-Necked Green Pigeon is a common bird found in the forest, mangroves and parklands. It has also adapted to life in the urban areas, often found around many housing estates. It is often seen moving acrobatically on the branches of trees foraging for fruit. They usually move in small flocks and are often seen in pairs. The male is distinguished from the female by the pinkish-purple upper breast.

Like most pigeons, these pigeons are good seed dispersers for trees like figs and wild cinnamon. Their diet consists mainly fruit from the Ficus benjamina, Singapore Rhododendron, McArthurs' Palm fruit etc. They are largely arboreal and seldom descend to the ground except if it needs a drink. They are often spotted on canopies of trees during the early morning. I have seen pairs of these pigeons high up in the Albizia trees in Bukit Brown cemetery.

In terms of world distribution, they are found mostly in South East Asia from Southern Myanmar to the Malay Peninsula, Philippines and Borneo. They belong to the family of birds called Columbidae and sub-family Treroninae. They are one of a few green pigeons found in Singapore (others include the Thick-Billed Green Pigeon (Treron curvirostra) and by far the most common.

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