The Bar-shouldered Dove, Geopelia humeralis, is a pigeon that is native to the continent of Australia. It makes its home across the northern and eastern regions of Australia. While its population has spread to other countries such as New Guinea, it is generally confined to the immediate area surrounding Australia. This type of bird is typically found in humid areas, residing near lush vegetation that boasts close access to a water source such as a swamp or wetland. It also inhabits residential and urban areas throughout Australia.
This breed is also referred to as the Kookawook or the Mangrove Dove. The Bar-shouldered Dove is non-migratory and has a stable, healthy population in Australia. This bird is similar in size to other pigeons, with an average weight of 130 g and an average length of 26-30 cm. Bar-shouldered Doves of both genders tend to be visually similar, lacking immediately visible differences.
Its legs and claws are a reddish-orange, which is typical for pigeons. Its body is plump and its feathers appear ruffled. It has a long, thin beak that is gray in colour and its dark eyes are surrounded by a ring of yellow. The tail of the Bar-shouldered Dove is long and thin, with its tail feathers making up nearly half of its length. Unlike most pigeons, which have little colour variation, the Bar-shouldered Dove is comprised of a number of colours and shades. Its back, wings and tail are generally a brownish gray, whereas its head and chest are a bluish gray. Separating the back and head is a gold or copper strip from which the Bar-shouldered Dove gets its name.
The act of taking flight is audible due to the high-pitched noises that result from the flapping of the pigeon’s thick wings. Its call is a slow, deep “coo-kwoo.” This breed is generally seen in pairs or small flocks when foraging for food on the ground or visiting a water source, particularly if food and water are in short supply.
The Bar-shouldered Dove has a diet consisting of grasses, herbs and seeds. It makes its home several metres above ground in a tree or bush, using sticks or grass to construct its nest. During mating season, the female is known to lay two white eggs. Both the male and female incubate the eggs for approximately two weeks before hatching.
Newborn Bar-shouldered Doves are mouth-fed crop milk, a semi-solid secretion produced by pigeons to help nourish their young. They then both care for the baby pigeons until they fledge, which takes place a few weeks later. As they grow into maturity, the Bar-shouldered Dove develops more vivid colouring, as its body and feathers are initially lighter and duller in colour than adults.