Rock Pigeon – adult feeding crop milk to 4 juveniles

on 3rd January 2016

“I was privileged to watch adult Rock Pigeon(s) (Columba livia) feed crop milk to juveniles. What was unusual was that 4 juveniles were trying to get fed by one adult.

“The usual clutch for Rock Pigeons is 2 (Wells 1999); some authorities say 1-3 (Cornell Lab of Ornithology). It is also recognised that both partners feed juveniles and also suggested that adults are monogamous. So 4 juveniles competing for feeds by one adult at the same time is rather unusual.

“I only observed 3 episodes of feeding over 25 minutes before I had to leave. Only one adult came to feed the juvenile birds at a time. They were situated on an elevated rocky surface.

“The juvenile birds had all fledged but were of slightly different maturity; some developing adult plumage. The adult was being mobbed by the hungry juveniles and had a hard time feeding them (see images above).

“After watching this I have more questions than answers:
1. My observation period was limited, but why a single adult feeding 4 juveniles? Or was feeding here opportunistic by other juveniles?
2. Was this the same adult (or pair of adults) feeding the 4 juveniles or is there communal feeding once juveniles have fledged?
3. Could one pair of adults died/been caught and another set taken over feeding their young and added to their brood?
4. Is this a ‘staging area’ where juveniles are safely ‘housed’ while adult go to forage and return to feed them?

“Also note (above) that the juveniles were hungry enough to try and get crop milk from each other.”

Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
13th December 2015

Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Habitat: Limestone hills (Buddhist temples) at the edge of the city

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Overall visits (since 2005)

Live visitors
Visitors Today

Clustrmaps (since 2016)