May 2019 Bird of the Month

Unique to Florida Keys and very South Florida.
White-crowned Pigeon
 © Hart Rufe 03 Everglades National Park
Nikon D-810, Sigma 150-600 mm Sport lens, ISO 200, 600 mm, 1/2500, f/8

The White-crowned Pigeon’s resident Florida population increases in numbers as migrants arrive in July and August from the Bahamas and Caribbean to nest in the Keys on south Florida’s mangrove Islands. In sunlight, the nape of this large pigeon shows a beautiful iridescent sheen. During breeding they fly up to 30 miles between two habitats: one for nesting on safe mangrove islands, and the other to forage on fruits and berries in forests. In Everglades National Park, they feed on Pigeon-plum, Gumbo-limbo and Poisonwood fruits that grow on understory trees in the hammocks and slash-pine forests of Long Pine Key.  Often in forested treetops, their presence is revealed by loud cooing and wing beats when they take off.  These pigeons are known for being fast flyers, making them a popular hunting target. Although hunting this species is banned in the U.S., they are threatened by hunting in the Bahamas and Caribbean, and everywhere by habitat loss and collisions with cars, towers, and windows. Thus, they are classified as Near Threatened. (ICUN Red list).  John J. Audubon painted them and wrote about them when he visited the Keys in 1831.

Juanita Baker, Coordinator
Florida Bird Photo of the Month
Pelican Island Audubon Society

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