Pink-necked Green Pigeons and Tanimbar Corellas

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On the morning of Christmas eve 2006, I work up late to hear the soft, gurgling coos of more than a dozen Pink-necked Green Pigeons (Treron vernans) perched along the midrib of the fronds of my two ceram palms (Rhopaloblaste ceramica) (above left). These palms, among the tallest palms/trees around the area, are favourite perches for many species of birds, from Oriental Pied Hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris) to Long-tailed Parakeets (Psittacula longicauda) and Javan Mynas ( Acridotheres javanicus).

The Pink-necked Green Pigeons are always around towards the end and early periods of the year, pairing up and making courtship sounds and behaviour. Some birds simply pair up and perch quietly most of the time (left). Others try to slowly edge close to an opposite sex, to be accepted or rejected. If rejected the targeted bird will fly off to another perch. Other birds perch alone, either because there are not enough partners to go around or they have yet to be matched.

On this morning the air was suddenly filled with the harsh cries of a pair of Tanimbar Corellas (Cacatua goffini) that flew in to join the pigeons (top right). These corellas are larger than the pigeons and more aggressive, besides being more vocal. They were gamboling about the palms, landing on the leaflets of the fronds and chasing each other. In the process they were actively chasing off the pigeons by flying directly at one pigeon after another.

Invariable the pigeons would fly off the perch to land on another frond. This went on for some time, with the corellas shrieking loudly and flying around the palm crowns, chasing each other and frightening the pigeons. In due course most of the pigeons flew off to find a more peaceful tree elsewhere. After about five minutes the corellas flew off to anther tree leaving only a few pairs of the more tolerant pigeons alone.

This was the time when my starfruit tree (Averrhoa carambola) was fruiting and the corellas were raiding the green fruits, leaving numerous partially eaten fruits lying on the ground bleow.

Input and images by YC except Tanimbar Corella in flight by Chan Yoke Meng.

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