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Common Bronzewing

Common Bronzewing walking on bare ground by the side of a road

Scientific Name: Phaps chalcoptera

Size: 30 to 36 cm

What does it look like?

The male Common Bronzewing has a yellow-white forehead and darker pink breast. Both sexes have a clear white line below and around the eye and shining patches of green, blue and red in the wing, which are characteristic of all bronzewings. They are medium-sized, heavily built pigeons. The Common Bronzewing is a very cautious pigeon, and rarely allows close approach. If startled it flies strongly and directly. The common call is a deep “oom”, repeated several times.

Young Common Bronzewings are duller and browner than the adults. The metallic wing patch is absent or not easily seen.

Common Bronzewings can be distinguished from the similar Brush Bronzewing, P. elegans, by their pinkish-grey breast and paler brown back.

 

Where is it found?

Australia-wide.

What are its habitats & habits?

Common Bronzewings are one of the most plentiful and commonly seen pigeons in Australia. Common Bronzewings occur in almost every habitat type, with the exception of the most arid areas and densest rainforests. In suitable habitast they are are normally seen alone, in pairs or in small flocks, and are rarely found far from water.

The Common Bronzewing feeds on seeds and other vegetable matter. The birds feed on the ground and in small parties. These small groups need to drink frequently, and will visit waterholes during either the day or night.

Common Bronzewings build an untidy nest of sticks and twigs. It is normally made low down in a tree or bush, but may be up to 20 m above the ground. The 2, creamy-white eggs are incubated by both parents and hatch after 14 to 16 days. Both adults also share the care of the young birds, which are born naked and helpless and are completely dependent on their parents. Bronzewings, like all other pigeons, secret special milk from their crop, which is fed to the young chicks.

Interesting facts

Bronzewings, like other pigeons, feed their young with a milk-like substance that they secrete from their crop.

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Front cover of Australia's Birdwatching Megaspots book showing a picture of an Eastern Spinebill

This species features in my book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots

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