Superb Fruit-dove Click to enlarge image
AMS405/10 Superb Fruit-dove Image: Jack Purnell
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    superbus
    Genus
    Ptilinopus
    Family
    Columbidae
    Order
    Columbiformes
    Class
    Aves
  • Size Range
    22cm to 24cm

Identification

The Superb Fruit-Dove is a small colourful pigeon of the tree canopy. It is a compact bird, with short rounded wings and a short tail. The male has a purple crown, an orange hindneck, a blue-black breastband that separates a grey upper breast from white underparts. The thighs and flanks are partly barred green, and the wings and tail are green. The tail has grey tips. The female is green, with a grey breast and white underparts. There is a smallish purple patch on the crown. Young birds resemble females but lack the purple crown patch. This species is also called the Purple-crowned Fruit Dove or Pigeon, or the Superb Fruit-Pigeon.

Distribution

The Superb Fruit-Dove is found along the coast and nearby ranges of Queensland and New South Wales south to Moruya.



Habitat

In Australia, the Superb Fruit-Dove is found in closed forests, mostly rainforests, rainforest margins, mangroves, wooded stream-margins, and even isolated figs, lilly pillies and pittosporums. They are sometimes found near streams or lakes.

Seasonality

The Superb Fruit-Dove may migrate to New Guinea in winter, but little is known of its movements, or the reasons for its rare southern dispersal beyond Sydney (few have flown as far as Victoria and Tasmania).

Feeding and diet

Superb Fruit-Doves are arboreal (living entirely in trees) and feed almost exclusively on fruit, mainly in large trees. They have a large gape, which allows them to swallow bulky items.

Communication

A rapid, short, series of 'whoohs' that is less varied in pitch and interval, than calls of the Rose-Crowned fruit Dove.

Breeding Behaviour/s

Superb Fruit-Doves build a flimsy platform nest of twigs in bushy trees from 5 m - 30 m above the ground. The female incubates the eggs at night while the male incubates by day.

Breeding Season: September to January.

Economic/social impacts

Clearing of their forest habitat restricts access to fruit by Superb Fruit-Doves. They are listed as vulnerable in New South Wales. As they often move at night, many young birds fly into windows of buildings during their north-south movements.