The Papuan Mountain Pigeon


T he Papuan Mountain Pigeon, also known as De Alberti's Mountain Pigeon, inhabits the jungle-covered highlands of New Guinea and the nearby island of New Britain.

I have had this species in my collection for just two years during which time the birds have become very tame but quite active as compared to most of the fruit pigeons.

They are in a flight 30 feet long, 30 feet wide, and nine feet high. The top of the aviary is one-inch lath over 1/2 inch wire netting. The north wall is solid wood while the other three walls are netting covered with Angels Wings Jasmine which allows light and sun in the flight but also provides a good deal of shade.

In the center of the flight there is a small cement water pond supplied by a drip system and the entire pen is provided with a mist and sprinkling system. A gravel area surrounds the pond. The rest of the floor is dirt covered with two inches of redwood bark chips. The soft droppings of these fruit pigeons can be raked up and removed.

In addition to the Papuan Mountain Pigeon, the aviary contains Green-


naped Pheasant Pigeons, Superb and Black-naped Fruit Doves, Victoria Crowned Pigeons, and a group of small finches. All get along well with no serious aggression.

Perches and shelves are provided in the highest and most secluded parts of the aviary.

The Papuan Mountain Pigeons like to roost in a safe spot and observe the activity outside the aviary. The male calls frequently during the day and on moon-lit nights as well as when the nest is occupied. The call is a hoarse single note repeated somewhat like that of certain owls but not as rapidly. The call is given in a series of four to six notes with a short note on the end.

I feed tl1e Papuan Mountain Pigeons the same fare all my fruit doves and pigeons receive. It is fed fresh each morning and consists of any fruit in season (me favorite is blueberries), watermelon, grapes, soaked raisins, cooked brown rice, and cut com. A dish of Mynah diet is provided free choice. They don't eat much live food.

Nesting sites and actual nests are provided at different locations hut the ones most used are in the highest and darkest areas.

I make a wire basket 10 inches in
diameter and six inches deep into
which I pack soaked sphagnum moss
pressing it down to make a nest
depression. The moss is shaped
around the wire so that the wire is
completely covered. Tobacco stems
are used for the nesting material and
the male will carry them to the female
in the nest.

The hen lays one white egg.
Although these pigeons are rather
tame, any disturbance near the nest
will cause them to abandon the egg or
chick so I don t know the exact incubation
period nor just how long the
chick stays in the nest. I estimate that
the chick fledges in about three weeks.
Once fledged, the chick is fed by both
parents and sleeps between them at
night. To date my Papuan Mountain
Pigeons have raised three babies - two
female and one male.