When you imagine a dove or pigeon, chances are good that you picture a white dove of peace or a city pigeon. But there’s a huge variety of pigeons and doves around the globe, and many of them have colors that rival those of parrots!
List of Colorful Pigeons and Doves
Here’s our list of the most colorful pigeons and doves in the world:
1. Zebra Dove
- Latin name: Geopelia striata
- Habitat: Open areas (including farmlands and scrub) in Southeast Asia
- Size: About 8″-9″ long
- Diet: Mostly seeds of grass and weeds, though they will also eat insects and other smaller invertebrates
- Colorful feature: These birds have eye-catching, narrow zebra-like stripes. Though their upper bodies are usually a dull gray-brown, they have soft bluish faces and soft pink underparts.
Unsurprisingly, this pretty dove is a popular pet. But escaped and deliberately released pets have formed many populations outside of the native range. There’s a population in Hawaii that was first introduced in 1922! It is common in the wild, but its population has decreased in Indonesia due to trapping for the pet industry.
2. Luzon Bleeding-Heart
- Latin name: Gallicolumba luzonica
- Habitat: Forested parts of the Philippine island of Luzon
- Size: Up to about 12″ long
- Diet: Various types of fruits, seeds, and smaller invertebrates
- Colorful feature: As the name suggests, these pigeons have a bright red heart-like patch on the chest. They are even sometimes called paloma de punalada, a name that translates to “stabbed pigeon.” In addition, its gray upperparts are iridescent and can sometimes appear green, purple, or blue.
Several species of pigeons have “bleeding heart” in the name, but the Luzon bleeding heart has the most vividly red “heart” patch. And since the red color seems to blur outward into the pale chest, it looks convincingly wounded from afar.
3. White-Breasted Ground Dove
- Latin name: Pampusana jobiensis
- Habitat: Different types of forests in New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the Solomon Islands
- Size: Up to about 10″ long
- Diet: Mostly seeds, grains, and small invertebrates
- Colorful feature: This unique bird has feathers that are mostly a shimmering violet color. But its most noticeable feature is probably the snow-white “bib” on the breast.
Purple birds are relatively rare, so this one is especially eye-catching! It’s one of the dove species on the list that you can sometimes find in zoos. You may sometimes hear it called the “white-bibbed ground dove” or the “purple ground dove.” And despite its exotic appearance, this bird is not considered to be endangered, threatened, or near-threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
4. Pink-Necked Green Pigeon
- Latin name: Treron vernans
- Habitat: Forests, coastal mangroves, and forest edges in many parts of Southeast Asia
- Size: About 10″-12″ long
- Diet: Mostly fruit and especially figs
- Colorful feature: Females of this species are mostly green, but males have the namesake “pink-necked” pattern. The males have pastel pinkish necks, bluish faces, and an orange splash on the breast.
This bird is one of a few on our list that is called a “green pigeon.” And like other green pigeons, this one is a lot more colorful than the name would lead you to believe. The pink-necked green pigeon looks like an exotic forest bird, but you can also find it in dense urban areas as long as there are fruit trees present. Thanks to its adaptability, this bird is not in danger of extinction.
5. Blue-Headed Quail Dove
- Latin name: Starnoenas cyanocephala
- Habitat: Lowland forests and swamps in Cuba
- Size: About 12″-13″ long
- Diet: Mostly snails, seeds, and berries
- Colorful feature: This bird has a pretty, soft brown body, but its most colorful feature is the “crown” on its head. The crown is bright blue, and the bird’s face has a striking white band crossing a black base color.
If you aren’t familiar with doves, you might think this bird is an actual quail. It’s a strange animal that appears to be somewhat distantly related to many other birds in the pigeon and dove family. The IUCN classifies it as an endangered species. Part of its population decline comes from habitat destruction and the fact that it is still illegally hunted for meat.
6. African Olive Pigeon
- Latin name: Columba arquatrix
- Habitat: Forest canopies and some other habitat types in parts of southern and eastern Africa and nearby areas
- Size: About 15″-17″ long
- Diet: Mostly fruit and berries, though it will also eat smaller invertebrates
- Colorful feature: The African olive pigeon has quite an unusual pattern. Much of its body is maroon, though its wings are speckled with white. It has striking neck plumage of maroon and white striped, and its beak and the skin around the eye are bright yellow.
This species has some sexual dimorphism when it comes to color. Females have similar patterning to males, although the pattern as a whole is a bit duller. It has a very fragmented range, largely because it prefers forests above 4,600 feet in elevation. But despite that natural fragmentation, this species is not threatened or in danger of extinction.
7. Beautiful Fruit Dove
- Latin name: Ptilinopus pulchellus
- Habitat: Rainforests in New Guinea and on several islands including Batanta, Waigeo, and Salawati. It is also found in some of West Papua, Indonesia
- Size: About 7.5″ long
- Diet: Many types of available fruit
- Colorful feature: This appropriately-named bird is one of the most colorful on the list! Its breast is pale blue-gray, and the belly has a streak of purplish red before a bright yellowish patch. The upperparts are green, and the head is capped in red.
The beautiful fruit dove is known by a few other names: you may hear it called the “crimson-capped fruit dove” or the “rose-fronted pigeon.” This bird’s distinctive patterning looks a lot like that of a Gouldian finch, as many of the colors seem to be divided into “blocks.”
8. Emerald Dove
- Latin name: Chalcophaps indica
- Habitat: Tropical and subtropical parts of Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent
- Size: About 9″-11″ long
- Diet: Mostly various types of seeds and fruits
- Colorful feature: Both male and female emerald doves have bright emerald-green wings. Males have pinkish necks and breasts and a white crown.
These beautiful doves tend to be a lot less flighty than some other species on the list. People who have encountered them in the wild have described them as being very approachable. They also spend a good bit of time on the ground. The emerald dove has several other common names; you may hear it called the “common emerald dove,” “Asian emerald dove,” “gray-capped emerald dove,” “green dove,” or “green-winged pigeon.”
9. Thick-Billed Green Pigeon
- Latin name: Treron curvirostra
- Habitat: Mangrove forests and lowland forests in the eastern part of Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent
- Size: Usually less than 10″ long
- Diet: Mostly figs
- Colorful feature: Males of this species are especially colorful! Their wings are maroon, and the flight feathers are black but edged in yellow. Most of the rest of the body is green.
This beautiful bird is one of the more colorful types of green pigeon. It has a very expansive range and is not considered to be threatened or close to extinction in any way. Due in part to its large range, the thick-billed green pigeon has nine different subspecies!
10. Pink-Headed Fruit Dove
- Latin name: Ptilinopus porphyreus
- Habitat: Mountainous, forested areas at least 2000 meters in elevation in Sumatra, Java, and Bali
- Size: About 11″-11.5″ long
- Diet: Figs, berries, and other types of small fruit
- Colorful feature: The male pink-headed fruit dove has a pinkish-red head with a pink throat and “bib.” The bib has a stripe of white and a stripe of black separating it from the grayish breast. The upperparts are greenish.
Though it’s beautiful, the pink-headed fruit dove is rarely found in captivity. However, in Indonesia, it seems to be at least somewhat popular as a pet. The IUCN currently classifies this bird as being a species of “least concern,” so any trapping for the pet trade that occurs isn’t likely to threaten population numbers.
11. Nicobar Pigeon
- Latin name: Caloenas nicobarica
- Habitat: Coastal regions on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and surrounding islands
- Size: About 16″ long
- Diet: Mostly seeds, buds, and fruit, though it will also eat grain if it can find it
- Colorful feature: This beautiful bird has a body that is almost entirely iridescent green-bronze. It also has iridescent hackles reminiscent of those of a chicken!
You might be surprised to hear that researchers believe this pigeon may well be the closest living relative to the now-extinct dodo. It’s not as closely related as many of the pigeon and dove species on the list, as it is the only living member of its genus, Caloenas. There are two subspecies of Nicobar pigeon: one is found on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Malay Archipelago, the Solomon Islands, the Philippines, and New Guinea. The other is found only on Palau Island.
12. Chestnut-Naped Imperial Pigeon
- Latin name: Ducula aenea paulina
- Habitat: Forested parts of the Sula Islands, Togian, Banggai, and Sulawesi
- Size: About 18″ long
- Diet: Various types of plants in tree canopies
- Colorful feature: This beautiful little bird has coloration that is mostly pinkish-white. However, its wings are a beautifully intense green with some yellow mottling. It also has a pretty patch of chestnut brown on the back of the neck.
Technically, this bright bird is a subspecies of the green imperial pigeon. But it looks much different from many other species thanks to the shock of chestnut on the back of the head. Along with other imperial pigeons, this one has a call that is lower and more powerful than the sounds many pigeons make.
13. Spotted Dove
- Latin name: Spilopelia chinensis
- Habitat: Many different habitat types in much of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia
- Size: About 11″-13″ long
- Diet: Mostly grain, seeds, and some other types of plant matter
- Colorful feature: This pretty dove is colorful in a subtle sort of way. As you can see, the neck has a patch of black covered with white spots. The neck and breast are often a lovely, rosy shade of mauve.
This hardy species has quite a large range and an ability to adapt to many different types of habitats, including urban areas. And since it appears in so many places, the spotted dove can be called a number of things: “mountain dove,” “lace-necked dove,” “pearl-necked dove,” and “spotted turtledove.”
14. Ceylon Green Pigeon
- Latin name: Treron pompadora
- Habitat: Forested parts of Sri Lanka
- Size: About 10″-12″ long
- Diet: Many different types of fruits and seeds
- Colorful feature: The male of this species is incredibly colorful: most of his body is green, and he has maroon wings. The flight feathers you can see when the bird is at rest are black with yellow lining. The face is especially pretty, as it appears to be splashed with yellow. But there’s one especially unique colorful feature: some individuals have blue eyes!
This is another of the green pigeons on the list. And as you can see, it does bear some resemblance to many of the closely-related green pigeon species. Like many other green pigeons, the female (like the one in the picture) tends to be a bit duller and a bit greener.
15. Mariana Fruit Dove
- Latin name: Ptilinopus roseicapilla
- Habitat: Various habitat types in the Northern Marianas Islands and Guam
- Size: Up to about 9.5″ long
- Diet: Mostly various types of fruit
- Colorful feature: Both male and female Mariana fruit doves are extremely colorful! They have gray to blue heads and necks, a red “cap,” and a green belly with a large patch of yellow. As you can see in the picture, the green wings can sometimes be mottled with blue.
This beautiful dove is among the smallest on our list. Unfortunately, the IUCN classifies it as an endangered species. Much of its population decline has been from the introduction of the brown tree snake, although habitat destruction certainly plays a role. Luckily, in Guam, the brown tree snake has been eradicated. But it continues to threaten the Mariana fruit dove through the rest of its range.
16. Common Bronzewing
- Latin name: Phaps chalcoptera
- Habitat: Habitats near water throughout most of Australia
- Size: About 12″-14″ long
- Diet: Mostly seeds and various types of vegetables
- Colorful feature: Much of the bronzewing’s body is somewhat dull. However, these pigeons have patches of stunning iridescence on their wings. In the sun, these colors shine red, blue, and green.
The name of this bird is a little deceptive. After all, you’d expect something with “bronzewing” in the name to have wings that are mostly metallic bronze. Instead, these beautiful birds surprise you with an intensely beautiful rainbow sheen. You can find them in most areas of Australia; they are very adaptable and can live in almost any habitat.
17. Victoria Crowned Pigeon
- Latin name: Goura victoria
- Habitat: Swamp and lowland forests in northern New Guinea and nearby islands
- Size: About 29″-30″ long
- Diet: Mostly figs, seeds, and some small invertebrates
- Colorful feature: These striking birds have bodies that are almost entirely a stunning blue-gray. But their crest or “crown” is especially noticeable; it includes rosette-like feathers (like those in a peacock’s tail) that are dark blue and tipped in white.
The Victoria crowned pigeon is one of four species of these magnificent birds. All species are native to New Guinea and the surrounding area. This pigeon is definitely one of the heaviest on our list, as Victoria crowned pigeons can weigh up to nearly 8 pounds. Despite their relatively heavy weight, they are still able to fly!
18. Pied Imperial Pigeon
- Latin name: Ducula bicolor
- Habitat: Both forested and open areas throughout much of Southeast Asia
- Size: Up to about 15″ long
- Diet: Mostly various types of fruit and berries
- Colorful feature: This striking pigeon almost looks like something out of a painting. Its stark white body contrasts beautifully with the black flight feathers. The head is a faintly creamy warm white that blends into the pure white of the body.
Though this bird isn’t rainbow-colored, its beautifully contrasting feathers earned it a spot on the list. Even though it isn’t as widespread as some of the species on the list, it is still common enough that the IUCN considers it to be a species of least concern.
19. Superb Fruit Dove
- Latin name: Ptilinopus superbus
- Habitat: Rainforests in the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, Australia, Sulawesi, and the Philippines, as well as in some parts of Australia
- Size: About 8.5″-9.5″ long
- Diet: Mostly various types of fruits and berries
- Colorful feature: Males of this species are very colorful: the nape of the neck is bright orange, the crown atop the head is intense purple, and the wings and back are green. The belly has a dark band separating the grayish breast from the orangish abdomen.
You might expect that a bird of this bold coloration would be easily spotted in its natural habitat. However, it seems to be able to camouflage well in its natural habitat. You may be more likely to hear one than see it, though. When the superb fruit dove flies, its wings whistle!
20. Bartlett’s Bleeding-Heart
- Latin name: Gallicolumba crinigera
- Habitat: Rainforests on the islands of Dinagat, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, Basilan, and Mindanao in the Philippines
- Size: About 11.5″ long
- Diet: Mostly seeds, berries, insects, and worms
- Colorful feature: Like other bleeding-heart species, this bird has a bright and highly noticeable red “heart” on its chest. Some individuals like the one in the picture are incredibly colorful: they have iridescent green necks, red and purple wings, and orange-tan abdomens.
This bright bird has a relatively limited range in the Philippines. Deforestation has destroyed parts of its habitat, and the bird is also hunted for food and trapped to be sold into the pet trade. Currently, the IUCN classifies this species as being vulnerable, meaning that it will likely become endangered if nothing is done.
21. Snow Pigeon
- Latin name: Columba leuconota
- Habitat: Hilly parts of central Asia
- Size: About 13.5″ long
- Diet: Mostly grains, berries, seeds, buds, and shoots
- Colorful feature: This beautiful bird has a beautiful and complex pattern of snow white, slate gray, black, and sandy brown. This mixture helps them camouflage on the rocky cliffs where they make their nests.
The snow pigeon has somewhat unusual nesting habits: it will usually weave a nest of sticks, straw, and any other available material and place the nest in the crevice of a cliff face. Instead of building a new nest each year, it will usually return to the same nest, repair it, and use it again.
22. Wonga Pigeon
- Latin name: Leucosarcia melanoleuca
- Habitat: Forests and other sheltered areas throughout much of Australia
- Size: About 15″-16″ long
- Diet: Mostly seeds, fruits, and berries, though they will occasionally eat insects
- Colorful feature: This unusual pigeon is probably most recognizable for its pattern. It has a base color of a bluish slate gray, but there is a bright white “V” marking on the chest. The belly and forehead are also white, adding a pleasant contrast to the darker gray.
The wonga pigeon often lives in forests, but it has found ways to adapt to urban development. You can often find it around parking lots and walking tracks as well as in its natural habitat. You might also wonder where its unique name came from. It comes from the Aboriginal name “wonga-wonga.” The name was based on the sound of the bird’s call.
23. Pink-Spotted Fruit Dove
- Latin name: Ptilinopus perlatus
- Habitat: Forested parts of New Guinea and nearby islands
- Size: About 10.5″ long
- Diet: Mostly various types of fruit and berries
- Colorful feature: Some of these birds are more colorful than others, although males and females have the same patterning. As you can see in the picture, the head is usually yellowish (or at least paler than the body), the back is deep green, and the wings are spotted in pink.
Lots of the fruit doves on the list seem to have varying patterns of similar colors. But the pink-spotted fruit dove really stands out with its pink wing spots. Luckily, this beautiful bird doesn’t seem to be in any danger of extinction. It’s very common in its range and the IUCN classifies it as a species of “least concern.”
24. Speckled Pigeon
- Latin name: Columba guinea
- Habitat: Largely open habitats across most of sub-Saharan Africa
- Size: About 16″ long
- Diet: Mostly grains and some other types of vegetable matter
- Colorful feature: These birds have a base color that is usually intense slate blue. The neck, wings, and upperparts have rich brown markings, and the wings have varying amounts of white spots.
This unique pigeon is sometimes called the Guinea pigeon because its spotting resembles that of guineafowl. It’s also one of the more adaptable species on the list, as it’s another that can usually be found near human dwellings.
25. African Green Pigeon
- Latin name: Treron calvus
- Habitat: Forested areas in much of sub-Saharan Africa
- Size: About 12″ long
- Diet: Mostly various types of fruit, especially figs
- Colorful feature: The exact color and pattern of an African green pigeon depend on the subspecies. Scientists currently recognize about 17. But most have green bodies with maroon wing patches, bright yellow thighs, and bright red feet and beaks.
This colorful bird prefers to forage for food in tree canopies. It has adapted to be able to climb much like a parrot does in order to easily get to its preferred foods. However, on occasion, it may also forage along the ground.
26. Black-Naped Fruit Dove
- Latin name: Ptilinopus melanospilus
- Habitat: Forests in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia
- Size: About 9.5″ long
- Diet: Various types of fruit, especially figs and berries
- Colorful feature: Both males and females of this species are colorful in their own way. Males have white heads with a black patch on the back of the head and neck, and they also have a yellow chin. Females have soft bluish-green heads, and both males and females are green.
This bird’s name is a little confusing. Its other common name is the black-headed fruit dove, but the black patch on the head is really more between the head and the nape. The white head is somewhat rare among fruit doves, but it creates a pretty contrast with the otherwise green body.
27. Flame-Breasted Fruit Dove
- Latin name: Ptilinopus marchei
- Habitat: Forested parts of the mountains of Luzon in the Philippines
- Size: Up to about 16.5″ long
- Diet: Many types of fruit, especially figs
- Colorful feature: This bird has some of the most stunning colors on the list! Its most colorful feature is the “flame” located on the white breast. This is a patch that’s red at the bottom and fades to orange at the top. Its black wings contrast beautifully with the white breast, and it has a red “hood.”
This striking fruit dove bears some resemblance to the bleeding-hearts on the list. It is classified as being vulnerable to extinction, meaning that it’s likely to become endangered. Fortunately, the Philippines have taken steps to protect it. It is now illegal to capture, possess, or hunt.
28. Pheasant Pigeon
- Latin name: Otidiphaps nobilis
- Habitat: Rainforests in New Guinea and nearby islands
- Size: Up to about 20″ long
- Diet: Fruits and seeds on the floor of the rainforest
- Colorful feature: The most colorful part of these birds is probably the nape of the neck. There are four different subspecies of this pigeon, and each one has chestnut-brown upperparts and black underparts. Each also has a bright red-orange beak and intense, reddish-orange eyes. Each subspecies has a different-colored nape: there are white-naped, green-naped, gray-naped, and black-naped pigeons.
This large pigeon does look a little like a pheasant. But its common name comes from its habits: it lives and forages on the floor of the forest, much like pheasants in southeast Asia. It is currently classified as being a species of least concern, but its numbers are declining due to deforestation.
29. Wompoo Fruit Dove
- Latin name: Ptilinopus magnificus
- Habitat: Forested parts of New Guinea and eastern Australia
- Size: Up to about 18″ long
- Diet: Mostly different types of fruit and some insects
- Colorful feature: This very colorful dove has intense purple underparts and green upperparts, though its wings are usually spotted in yellow. Its head is whitish but often has a blue cast. Both males and females have this coloring.
This bird is also known as the wompoo pigeon. And while it’s known for its large size and beautiful feathers, it’s also known for its haunting call. It’s loud and carries through the forest, and some people say it sounds a lot like a person!
30. Sulawesi Ground Dove
- Latin name: Gallicolumba tristigmata
- Habitat: Rainforests on the island of Sulawesi
- Size: Up to about 14″ long
- Diet: Mostly seeds and various types of fruits
- Colorful feature: Like many birds of Southeast Asia, this one is especially colorful! It has a deep golden forehead, a golden breast, and a purple patch on the nape of the neck. Its crown is a strikingly iridescent blue-green.
This stunning bird often looks rotund and puffed up. Though it is not considered to be threatened or near-threatened, it is incredibly elusive. As a result, it has not been studied as extensively as some other birds on the list.
31. Diamond Dove
- Latin name: Geopelia cuneata
- Habitat: Mostly arid and semi-arid parts of northern, central, and western Australia
- Size: About 9″-11″ long
- Diet: Mostly grass seeds and ants
- Colorful feature: These birds are a soft gray-brown spotted with white on the wings. They also have a partial black “collar.” Though they are mostly neutral-colored, they have stunning bright orange skin around the eyes.
Though this small, lightweight dove is native to arid and semi-arid regions, it almost always chooses habitats that are fairly close to water. Because it lives in such hot areas, it has evolved several adaptations to help it. These include changes in body temperature, fluid balance, and metabolism.
32. Bruce’s Green Pigeon
- Latin name: Treron waalia
- Habitat: Forested parts of many countries in Africa
- Size: About 12″ long
- Diet: Only figs from one specific fig tree species, Ficus platphylla
- Colorful feature: This confusingly-named bird is not actually green! It’s mostly grayish, but it has a cheerful yellow belly. Some individuals have a patch of soft green along the top of the wings. They also have a patch of purple.
These pretty birds are currently classified by the IUCN as a species of least concern. However, as is the case with many other forest-dwelling birds, its population is believed to be in decline. This is largely due to extensive deforestation.
33. Rock Dove
- Latin name: Columba livia
- Habitat: Originally found in semi-open and open habitats in Europe, North Africa, and western Asia, though it has been introduced to various habitats around the world.
- Size: About 11″-15″ long
- Diet: Mostly various types of grains and fruits, though they will also eat smaller invertebrates
- Colorful feature: These birds are mostly a soft gray in color with black bars on the wings. However, their necks are a beautiful iridescent greenish-purple.
If you ask someone in the northern hemisphere (or even in parts of the southern hemisphere) to picture a pigeon, chances are good that they imagine the rock dove. This is the common “city pigeon” found in urban areas around the world. Thanks to its very large range spanning across continents, the rock dove has 12 subspecies. It is the common ancestor of most domestic pigeons, including homing pigeons and those used in war.
34. Gray-Green Fruit Dove
- Latin name: Ptilinopus purpuratus
- Habitat: Tropical and subtropical forests on the French Polynesian islands of Mo’orea and Tahiti
- Size: About 9″ long
- Diet: Various types of fruit found in the forest
- Colorful feature: Though the name makes this bird sound less than colorful, the gray-green fruit dove is fairly bright. Though most of its body is soft gray, it has green wings with some feathers edged in yellow. This coloration helps it to camouflage, especially when it sits motionless in trees.
Even though it’s classified as a species of least concern, the gray-green fruit dove has to contend with several threats to its population. Invasive species including feral cats prey on it, and two similar invasive bird species (the red-vented bulbul and the common myna) often outcompete it for food. And as is the case with many forest birds, habitat destruction has had a major effect as well.
35. Socorro Dove
- Latin name: Zenaida graysoni
- Habitat: Formerly found across Socorro Island off of Mexico’s west coast; it is now extinct in the wild
- Size: About 10.5″-13.5″ long
- Diet: Various types of available fruit, especially figs
- Colorful feature: This dove may not be colorful in the traditional sense, but its rich, warm brown coloring earned it a mention on our list.
This beautiful dove can no longer be found in the wild; the last wild bird was spotted in the wild in 1972. It is bred in captivity, although its numbers are small: it’s estimated that there are between 100 and 200 birds in captivity. Conservationists have a goal of reintroducing the species to the wild. However, before doing so, feral cats (major predators of the Socorro dove) need to be removed from the island. Some experts believe that overgrazing by sheep may have contributed to the extinction of the species, so sheep are likely to be removed from the island as well.
36. Wood Pigeon
- Latin name: Columba palumbus
- Habitat: Parks, gardens, and wooded areas across the western Palearctic realm
- Size: About 15″-17.5″ long
- Diet: Mostly different types of plant matter, especially cereal grains when available
- Colorful feature: These birds have pretty rose-gray breasts, but their heads are easily the most colorful part. Their heads are bluish-gray, and they have a patch of green and a patch of white on the nape of the neck. Their beaks are partially pink and partially bright orange.
These birds have a very wide range and a very large population. When they live near agricultural areas, they feed extensively on farmed grains and are considered to be agricultural pests. They are hunted often across their range (especially in agricultural areas), but their population does not seem to be especially affected.
37. Golden-Heart Dove
- Latin name: Gallicolumba rufigula
- Habitat: Primarily wooded areas in New Guinea
- Size: About 8.5″-9.5″ long
- Diet: Mostly insects, though it will also eat seeds and fruit
- Colorful feature: Much of this bird’s body is a pale, warm cinnamon brown, though many birds have some soft blue markings. But its breast is probably its most colorful feature: it is white with a bold, golden patch.
You might sometimes hear this pretty dove called the “cinnamon ground dove,” “red-throated ground dove,” or “golden-heart pigeon.” It’s a bit different from some of the other doves and pigeons on the list. For one, it is notably more rotund. It also primarily eats insects. Most other doves and pigeons we’ve encountered primarily eat fruit and other plant matter.
38. Silvery Pigeon
- Latin name: Columba argentina
- Habitat: Wooded areas in Malaysia and Indonesia
- Size: About 14″ long
- Diet: Various types of fruit
- Colorful feature: This striking pigeon’s body has coloration ranging from warm white to cool, silvery white. Its long black flight feathers create a beautiful contrast with its pale patterning.
This pretty pigeon was at one point thought to be extinct. However, it was rediscovered in the wild in 2008. Even though that is undoubtedly good news, the IUCN currently classifies it as being critically endangered. That said, some experts believe that there may be more of these birds in the wild than we know about. That’s because it’s easy to confuse with the pied imperial pigeon, a bird that looks very similar.
39. Rose-Crowned Fruit Dove
- Latin name: Ptilinopus regina
- Habitat: Rainforests and monsoon forests in northern and Western Australia, the Lesser Sunda Islands, and Indonesia’s Maluku Islands
- Size: About 8.5″ long
- Diet: Mostly vines, palms, and various types of fruit
- Colorful feature: This stunning bird is easily one of the most colorful on the list! It has a bright orange belly and an intense, rosy-pink “cap” atop the head. It has a whitish breast and throat, and much of its upperparts are green. In this species, males and females have virtually the same coloring.
This beautiful bird looks like something out of a painting! And fortunately, the IUCN classifies it as a species of least concern. In New South Wales in Australia, though, it’s classified as being vulnerable. One unusual thing that has led to its decline is the removal of a tree called camphor laurel. Though the tree is an invasive species, it had become a major food source for the resident population of rose-crowned fruit doves.
40. Nigiri Wood Pigeon
- Latin name: Columba elphinstonii
- Habitat: Forested areas of India’s Western Ghats
- Size: About 16.5″ long
- Diet: Mostly large forest fruits
- Colorful feature: These birds have pretty purplish backs and grayish bellies. But their most interesting feature is probably the distinctively checkered black and white patch on the back of the neck.
This bird has a smallish range limited to part of India’s Western Ghats mountains. It is currently classified by the IUCN as being vulnerable to extinction. If you travel into this pigeon’s natural habitat, you should have no issue spotting it: it’s much larger than many of the birds on our list, and its purplish coloring is especially distinctive.
41. Wedge-Tailed Green Pigeon
- Latin name: Treron sphenurus
- Habitat: Tropical and subtropical forests in Southeast Asia and on the Indian Subcontinent
- Size: Up to about 13″ long
- Diet: Mostly various types of fruit, seeds, and nuts
- Colorful feature: These birds are a pretty yellowish-green in color. They often have a subtle orangish patch on the forehead. Males have maroonish wings and both sexes have an unusual, blue-tinted beak.
You might hear this particular green pigeon variety called the Kokla green pigeon. And as the name suggests, its tail is much broader than those of most other green pigeon species. This bird usually stays in its habitat year-round. However, it sometimes will make relatively local migrations to follow fruits that are in season.
42. Namaqua Dove
- Latin name: Oena capensis
- Habitat: Largely desert-adjacent habitats across sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula
- Size: About 8.5″ long
- Diet: Almost exclusively seeds
- Colorful feature: Male Namaqua doves have interesting and unusual coloring. While most of the body is grayish or gray-brown, the bird has a dramatic splash of jet black down the face, neck, and part of the breast. It also has a few other black markings. The bill is also quite colorful, as it is purplish at the base and orangish toward the tip.
These interesting little doves are somewhat unusual in that they are usually seen feeding alone or in pairs. They forage almost entirely on the ground and are often seen on roadsides. The only time you’re likely to see a large flock is at a water hole.
43. Topknot Pigeon
- Latin name: Lopholaimus antarcticus
- Habitat: Mostly wooded parts of eastern Australia
- Size: About 16″-18″ long
- Diet: Various types of fruit; the exact type depends on location
- Colorful feature: This bird’s body is mostly a soft gray. It has a crest-like protrusion of yellowish-brown feathering on the back of the head; this is its “topknot.” Its reddish beak and reddish eyes give it an unexpected touch of dramatic color, too.
This is an unusual-looking pigeon, so it’s only fitting that it has an unusual name! The name “topknot pigeon” was given to it centuries ago by colonists in New South Wales. It has several unique vocalizations, too. One is a cooing sound, one is a croaky call, and one is a harsh and unusual call described as being similar to that of a pig.
44. Orange-Breasted Green Pigeon
- Latin name: Treron bicinctus
- Habitat: Tropical forests in Southeast Asia and parts of the Indian Subcontinent
- Size: About 11.4″ long
- Diet: Mostly small fruit
- Colorful feature: This lovely bird is one of the more colorful green pigeons. The back of its neck is bluish, the top of the breast is lilac, and the bottom of the breast is bright orange. The belly is bright yellow. As you can see in the photo, this is one of the green pigeon varieties with captivating blue eyes!
These hardy birds eat a variety of fruits. Interestingly enough, they are able to eat the fruit of the strychnine tree that are poisonous to mammals. You can sometimes see them foraging by walking slowly along the branches of fig trees.
45. Spinifex Pigeon
- Latin name: Geophaps plumifera
- Habitat: Arid and semi-arid parts of northern and central Australia
- Size: About 8″-9″ long
- Diet: Mostly seeds, insects, and different types of plant matter
- Colorful feature: This bird is mostly a sandy tan color with various black and white markings. But its most striking feature is the tall, tan triangular plume that sits atop its gray head.
Though this stunning and unusual pigeon lives in dry environments, it almost always chooses habitats close to water sources. It is able to live comfortably in hot desert environments thanks to its low production of body heat.
46. Lemon Dove
- Latin name: Ptilinopus luteovirens
- Habitat: Forested parts of Fiji
- Size: About 8″ long
- Diet: Various types of fruit
- Colorful feature: As you probably gathered from the name, male lemon doves are bright yellow in color.
This very distinctive bird has unusually-textured feathers; they often have a texture that is more hairlike. Both sexes have this unusual texture, but only males are bright yellow; females are typically dark green.
47. Jambu Fruit Dove
- Latin name: Ptilinopus jambu
- Habitat: Forested parts of Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, and some Indonesian islands
- Size: About 9″-10.5″ long
- Diet: Fruit from various types of trees
- Colorful feature: This bird is one of the most beautiful on the list. Both sexes have green bodies and white breasts. Males have bright red or magenta faces with a pink patch on the breast. Females have purplish faces.
This dove is currently classified as being near threatened. Much of its population decline has been caused by deforestation. But since the jambu fruit dove is able to live in a relatively new-growth forest, its numbers have not declined too dramatically. And thanks to its very dramatic coloring, this bird can often be found in zoos.
48. Yellow-Footed Green Pigeon
- Latin name: Treron phoenicopterus
- Habitat: Forested parts of Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent
- Size: About 13″ long
- Diet: Various types of fruit, including many types of figs
- Colorful feature: As you can see in the picture, this bird is a mixture of pretty pastel colors. Of course, the lower part of its legs (near the feet) is yellow. Its neck is yellowish-olive, and its head is a soft periwinkle. It has a patch of pastel purple on the front of each wing. And as you see on the bird in the photo, its eyes are often a very intense blue.
These pretty birds enjoy sunbathing on treetops, especially during the morning hours. They make a lovely sight for birdwatchers! This species is also one of the more culturally important green pigeons, as it is the state bird of the Indian state of Maharashtra.
49. Metallic Pigeon
- Latin name: Columba vitiensis
- Habitat: Tropical forested areas of Indonesia, New Guinea, the Solomin Islands, the Philippines, Samoa, and New Caledonia
- Size: About 14.5″ long
- Diet: Mostly various types of seeds, berries, fruit, and grains
- Colorful feature: Though this bird is often not entirely metallic, its name comes from its brilliant, glossy purplish-green cap. Though coloration varies by subspecies, many birds also have eye-catching green lacing on the wing feathers like you see in the picture.
Though this pretty bird is not considered to be at risk of extinction, one of its subspecies is now extinct. That subspecies, the Lord Howe pigeon, was only found on Australia’s Lord Howe Island. Unfortunately, it was overhunted and became extinct in the 1850s.
50. Negros Bleeding-Heart
- Latin name: Gallicolumba keayi
- Habitat: Forested parts of the Philippine Islands of Negros and Panay
- Size: About 10″ long
- Diet: Mostly various types of plant material
- Colorful feature: This is another especially striking bleeding-heart. But as you can see in the photo, this one has an even more colorful body than some. Much of the upper back and back of the neck are shiny blue. The lower part of the wings are brown, and the breast and throat are bright white. Of course, like other bleeding-hearts, it has a red, wound-like patch on the breast, too.
This is one of the most stunningly beautiful birds on the list. Unfortunately, it is also critically endangered. Some of that is because its population has been fragmented due to habitat destruction. It also will only live in old-growth forests, though there are a few exceptions. The Philippines have begun a captive breeding project designed with the intent of releasing birds back into the wild.
51. White-Bellied Green Pigeon
- Latin name: Treron sieboldii
- Habitat: Temperate forests in South Korea, Laos, Taiwan, China, Japan, Russia, Vietnam, India, and Thailand
- Size: About 13″-14″ long
- Diet: Mostly various types of fruit
- Colorful feature: These pretty birds have a light green base color and white bellies. Sometimes, the base of the neck appears to have a faint wash of white, too. Males also have maroon wings, though females do not.
This bird looks a lot like many of the other green pigeons on the list. However, it has a very unusual habit: it drinks saltwater! In particular, it seems to like to drink saltwater in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture. If you happen to be in its natural habitat, you just might hear its distinctive, flute-like call from the trees; it camouflages very well.
Nature’s Most Colorful Pigeons and Doves
Hopefully you’ve learned a bit about the rainbow of pigeons and doves out there. Whether you see a colorful fruit dove perched in a tree or the iridescent neck of a city pigeon, we hope these birds brighten up your life!