Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

The Ecology of Fruit Pigeons in Tropical Northern Queensland.

FHJ Crome

Australian Wildlife Research 2(2) 155 - 185
Published: 1975


Seven species of fruit pigeon were studied during 3 years in the lowland tropical forest of N. Queensland to find the effect of forest species on pigeon populations and breeding habits and the basis for coexistence of 7 species. Because of the variety of plant species and the differences in their fruiting seasons, fruit was available all the year round and the diet of each species changed according to the fruit available and the selectivity of their feeding habits; none of the species studied ate anything other than fruits or seeds, the latter representing an appreciable fraction (20%) only in the brown pigeon. The foraging habits of all species were recorded and their relative abundance was assessed. Pigeons were most numerous during the dry season, which was also the breeding season. Each species selected a different range of fruiting plants owing to nomadism and migration. At any one time 2 or 3 pigeon species were common, while the rest were rare or absent. The plant family Lauraceae was of major importance. It is suggested that the many species (2250 in all) in this family have developed collaterally with the fruit-eating birds of appropriate feeding habits.


© CSIRO 1975

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