As one of the doves and pigeons in the Columbidae family, the white-crowned pigeon (Patagioenas leucocephala) eats seeds and fruits. The Caribbean is where this species is found most often. Audubon painted these pigeons in his 18th-century book Birds of America, and the watercolour painting is included in that book.
Many naturalists, including John Ray in 1713, Hans Sloane in 1725, and Mark Catesby in 1731, published descriptions and illustrations of the White-crowned pigeon in their works throughout the first part of the 18th century.
When the Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus revised his Systema Naturae for the tenth edition in 1758, he included the White-crowned pigeon with all of the other pigeons in the genus Columba, which is now known as the European pigeon. Included with the description was the coining of the binomial name Columba leucocephala and the citations of the preceding writers.
The particular epithet combines the Ancient Greek words leukos, which means “white,” and -cephalous, which means “headed.” Although Linnaeus listed the location as North America, the type locality is now considered the Bahamas due to Catesby’s work. The species has since been assigned to the genus Patagioenas, founded by the German scientist Ludwig Reichenbach in 1853 and named after the White-crowned pigeon, which served as the type species for the genus. The species is monotypic, meaning that there are no recognized subspecies.
The White-crowned pigeon may grow to be 29–35 cm (11–14 in) in length, 48–59 cm (19–23 in) across the wings, and weigh 150–301 g (5.3–10.6 oz). Its wingspan can be 48–59 cm (19–23 in) wide. The common rock pigeon is about the same size, but it weighs a little less because it is usually less bulky and has a tail that is longer and more square in shape than the common rock pigeon.
The color of the adult White-crowned pigeon birds’ plumage ranges from slate grey to nearly black in hue. Its iridescent collar patch, which has a barred white pattern with green highlights and can only be seen under bright lighting, is particularly noticeable. Depending on the individual, their distinctive crown patch may vary from a brighter white in males to a more grey-white in most females. Juveniles may have a greyish-brown coloration for a variety of reasons.
White-crowned pigeons have a white iris and a light red beak with a pale tip. Juveniles are a lighter shade of grey than adults, do not have the nape pattern or white iris, and have just a few pale feathers on their heads. Their cry is a powerful, deep coo-cura-coo or coo-coo, which means “coo-coo.” This species is a part of a varied group of Patagioenas that differ greatly in appearance but are always distinguished by their triple cooing call pattern (except in the scaled pigeon)
Approximately 7,500 pairs of White-crowned pigeons are believed to be in Florida’s population, which is considered vulnerable due to continued habitat degradation in the Florida Keys and elsewhere. The population of several Caribbean islands appears to be decreasing due to overhunting and habitat destruction.
Habitat of White-crowned pigeons:
Keys with mangroves and forested islets. The animal that roams freely across the forested environments of south Florida. White-crowned pigeon species usually nests in mangroves on tiny offshore islands and sometimes on the outside fringe of mangroves on parts of the mainland. However, it typically avoids places where raccoons are present (apparently a major nest predator). It forages for food in tropical hardwood forests on both islands and the mainland.
Due to its ability to fly great distances over water, the White-crowned Pigeon has successfully colonized islands throughout the Caribbean, including Cuba. It may be found in large numbers in certain areas of southern Florida, although most of its Florida breeding colonies are located on tiny offshore islands. Flocks of birds are often observed flying quickly above or perched in treetops, feasting on berry-laden branches.
Feeding And Consumption Behavior of White-crowned pigeons:
Forages nearly exclusively in trees, clambering around with remarkable agility for such a large bird, bending and stretching, and sometimes hanging upside down for a brief period to obtain fruit. It rarely comes to the ground to feed.
White is occasionally used as a number 2 or 1. Incubation is carried out by both parents, mostly by the female at night and the male during the day; the duration of incubation is unknown. Young: Both parents provide “pigeon milk” to their children. The young depart the nest at about three weeks of age. In certain areas of the range, it is possible to rear three broods each year.
Both parents of White-crowned Pigeons provide “pigeon milk” to their children. The young depart the nest at about three weeks of age. In certain areas of the range, it is possible to rear three broods each year.
The diet of a White-crowned pigeon majority of the items is fruits and berries. It subsists mostly on the fruits and berries of a wide range of natural trees and shrubs of the Caribbean area and the fruits and berries of certain imported species. May consume seeds from time to time, as well as insects and snails on rare occasions.
Breeding occurs most often in Florida between July and August. Nests are often seen in groups. A guy cries out to attract a female while perching erect and puffing his chest out. Males swagger and nod their way through courting.
On tiny islands, the nest is typically on a fork in a horizontal branch at a low level (below 15′) among mangroves or other shrubs, or on a cactus. The nest location may be up to 30′ above the ground or water or on the ground. The nest (which is likely to have been made by both sexes) is a loosely formed platform of twigs lined with grasses or other fine material.
Threats To The Environment And conservation:
The loss of habitat owing to deforestation and habitat degradation is the most dangerous to this species survival. The White-crowned pigeon requires two different habitats, one for nesting and another for feeding, to reproduce successfully. It is most common for them to reproduce in coastal red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle), which are still being cleared for crops such as sugarcane to this day.
For the species’ feeding habitats, which are usually inland hardwood woods, agriculture and deforestation have become a source of concern. Because of its fear of being infringed upon, the bird has been known to leave its nest when threatened.
In Florida, White-crowned pigeons often eat the fruit of poisonwood (Metopium toxiferum), which unfortunately causes severe human dermatitis and is frequently removed from the environment.
The White-crowned Pigeon is also an amazing game bird across most of its range, and it is a threatened species in certain areas. The unlawful shooting of these pigeons continues to be a concern in the Bahamas, even though improvements have been made to the country’s hunting laws. Other hazards to this species include collisions with artificial items, a significant source of death in Florida, and pesticide usage.
This species, like the passenger pigeon, is now extinct. “This example demonstrates an essential conservation biology principle: it is not necessarily necessary to exterminate the final couple of a species in order to bring it to extinction. These birds are endangered “The killing of nesting birds threatens the extinction of its Caribbean breeding sites.