The Nicobar Pigeon is one of the most beautiful species in the family Columbidae. They average 1.5 to 3 inches larger than the average Rock Pigeon. And they are colorful!
Besides their beautiful metallic green, blue and copper feathers, Nicobar Pigeons have long hackles (long feathers) around their necks.
Nicobar Pigeons are named for the Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean. During a recent visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I saw a group of these gorgeous pigeons sunning themselves. They were in a large walk-through aviary in the Maharajah Jungle Trek attraction.
Throughout the park that day I noticed many new cast members being trained or following orientation from more experienced Disney employees. As I stopped to watch the sunbathing pigeons, I overheard one cast member explaining to another that the sunbathing area was a hotspot for questions from visitors who express concern for the birds. A sunbathing bird may contort into an odd-looking position, or appear to be injured, while exposing various body parts to the sun. If you want to learn about avian sunbathing, this article on about.com is a good place to start: Birds Sunning.
Unfortunately, the Nicobar Pigeon is considered a Near Threatened species in the wild. Threats to the species include hunting, the pet trade, non-native predators, and habitat destruction.
Their beautiful plumage makes Nicobar Pigeons popular birds in zoo aviaries. Because they do breed easily in captivity, breeding programs are able to stock overseas zoos.