Pigeons and Doves in Australia

Hardback - April 2015 - AU $185.00

eBook - April 2015 - eRetailers

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A highly illustrated volume depicting all thirty native species of pigeons and doves to be found in Australia.

Possibly the most successful urban birds, pigeons and doves in the Order Columbiformes are one of the most easily recognised groups. They are an ancient and very successful group with an almost worldwide distribution and are most strongly represented in tropical and subtropical regions, including Australia. In most species simple plumage patterns feature mainly grey and brown with black, white or dull reddish markings, but the highly colourful fruit-doves include some of the most beautiful of all birds. + Full description

From dense rainforests of north Queensland, where brilliantly plumaged Superb Fruit-Doves Ptilinopus superbus are heard more easily than seen, to cold, windswept heathlands of Tasmania, where Brush Bronzewings Phaps elegans are locally common, most regions of Australia are frequented by one or more species. For more than a century after arrival of the First Fleet, interest in these birds focused on the eating qualities of larger species. In addition to contributing to declines of local populations in some parts of Australia, excessive hunting brought about the extinction of two species on Lord Howe Island and another species on Norfolk Island.

In Pigeons and Doves in Australia, Joseph Forshaw and William Cooper have summarised our current knowledge of all species, including those occurring on Christmas, Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands, and with superb artwork have given readers a visual appreciation of the birds in their natural habitats. Historical accounts of extinct species are also included. Detailed information on management practices for all species is presented, ensuring that Pigeons and Doves in Australia will become the standard reference work on these birds for ornithologists and aviculturists.

Winner of a 2015 Whitley Awards Certificate of Commendation for Illustrated Text.

- Short description


"It has taken many years for a book of this calibre to come along and will no doubt set the standard for many more years. I recommend this book to all bird people whether they keep Pigeons and Doves or just like birds."
Thomas Hobbs, Australian Aviculture, May 2015

"this is a magnificent production."
Steve Holliday, Canberra Bird Notes, 2015

"This volume deserves a place among the classic bird books of the world."
NPA Quarterly Review, 2015

"For those seriously interested in the pigeons and doves of Australia this book is a "must have" item. Not only are the illustrations beautifully done but the wealth of information all in the one place makes it a reference book of notable usefulness and enjoyment to read."
Gil Porter, Warbler (Southern Queensland BirdLife e-newsletter), Vol 5(1), March 2016, pp 29-30

"For the planned final project of their forty-year collaboration, Forshaw and Cooper have created what I believe will become the definitive work covering the thirty-one pigeon and dove species native to Australia. It features Joe Forshaw's incredible research skills as author complemented by Bill Cooper's outstanding paintings."
Graeme Hyde, Foreign Birds - the magazine of the Foreign Bird League, Autumn 2015, pp 94-96

"In outlining the strengths of the book I am personally immediately drawn to the beautiful and precise figures of Bill Cooper. Yet I am quickly distracted by the text of Joseph Forshaw, because it is comprehensive... According to the author this book will fill a void that has not been filled for thirty years since Harry Frith's Pigeons and Doves of Australia, published in 1982. I imagine it might be another thirty years until this book is usurped as the leading text on Australia's pigeons and doves."
Graham R. Fulton, Pacific Conservation Biology, Vol 22(1), 2016, pp 81-83

"this is a handsome, well-produced book, a beautiful vehicle for Cooper's last published bird paintings, and will now become the new authoritative text on Australia's Columbidae."
Stephen Garnett, The Quarterly Review of Biology, September 2016, pp 377

"Cooper’s wonderful color plates are placed within the text for each species, and the reproduction by CSIRO Publishing is excellent. The colors are intense and accurate, the brush work superb, and the birds look as if they could just walk off the page. Particularly noteworthy are the backgrounds that, for all the species I know well, faithfully depict the habitats of the various species... For those interested in the pigeons and doves of Australia, as I have been for many years, this book should be compulsory reading."
R. E. Johnstone, The Auk, 133, July 2016, pp 565-567

"my kind of bird book... packed with new details on every aspect of pigeon distribution, habitat and ecology..."
G. Carpenter, South Australian Ornithologist 42(1), December 2016, pp. 29-30


Hardback | April 2015 | $185.00
ISBN: 9780643096332 | 360 pages | 270 x 305 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Colour illustrations, Illustrations

ePDF | April 2015
ISBN: 9781486304042
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Available from eRetailers


  • Unique work of reference by two of Australia’s leading authorities
  • Outstanding artwork


Australian pigeons and doves in aviculture

Tribe MACROPYGIINI Bonaparte
Tribe PHABINI Bonaparte

Appendix: Vagrants

View the full table of contents.


Joseph M Forshaw is one of Australia’s foremost ornithologists. Prior to his retirement, he held a senior position with the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service. He is a Research Associate in the Department of Ornithology at the Australian Museum, Sydney, and is a Corresponding Fellow of the American Ornithologists Union. In 1977 he was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal for his services to ornithology and conservation. It was in the early 1960s, while working as a biologist with the then CSIRO Division of Wildlife Research, that he turned a lifelong fascination with birds into a serious academic interest, and his efforts were rewarded in 1964 when he was granted a Frank M. Chapman Memorial Fellowship by the American Museum of Natural History to study specimens of Australian parrots in collections at that institution. In partnership with the eminent Australian bird artist William Cooper, he has produced a number of widely acclaimed books.

William T Cooper AO is Australia’s leading natural history artist. In collaboration with Joseph Forshaw, he has illustrated several ornithological books including Parrots of the World, The Birds of Paradise and Bower Birds, Australian Parrots, Kingfishers and Related Birds and Turacos. In 1990 he was awarded the Philadelphia Academy of Science (USA) Gold Medal, and in 1994 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for his contribution to art and to ornithology. In 2014 he received an Honorary Doctorate from the Australian National University. A collection of Cooper’s original paintings is owned by the National Library of Australia, another two collections are owned by the State Library of NSW (Mitchell Library), and many others are in private collections around the world.