Pink-Headed Fruit Dove

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Is the Pink-Headed Fruit Dove right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Temminck's Fruit Pigeon; Pink-necked Fruit Dove; Banded Fruit Dove;Purple-crowned Fruit Dove

Scientific name: Ptilinopus porphyreus

The basics:
The Pink-headed Fruit Dove is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful pigeons, if not one of the most beautiful birds, on the planet. If you don't say, “wow,” the first time you see this species, check your pulse. However, because of their specialized care, the Pink-headed Fruit Dove is recommended to the well-heeled expert who can provide the expensive fruit diet and the spacious aviary required to keep these birds in fine feather.

The Pink-headed Fruit Dove is a species endemic to a few islands in Indonesia, where it lives in mountain forests from about 1,000 to 2,200 meters. This bird belongs to a genus, Ptilinopus, that is widely acknowledged to include some of the most beautiful doves in the world. Its relatives include birds with such names as “Superb” and “Beautiful” Fruit Dove. The marvelous Pink-headed Fruit Dove can certainly hold its own against its cousins in any beauty contest. Yet, in the wild, the pink and green colors actually provide camouflage when it's foraging high in the trees.

The spectacular plumage of the adult male Pink-headed Fruit Dove features a deep rose-pink head and chest, green wings, and a striking white necklace underlined with a second necklace of near-black. Yellow under the tail completes the color scheme. The female is not quite as bright

80 grams (2.8 oz.)

Average size:
28 - 29 centimeters (11 - 11.5 in.)

10 years

Behavior / temperament:
The Pink-headed Fruit Dove is an aviary bird, rather than a housepet, but some people have trained their birds to fly to the hand for food. Be patient, and don't force yourself on these beautiful birds. They are easily discouraged if you interfere with a nesting project, so resist the urge to check on the nest, even though it will seem ridiculously flimsy. They lay only one egg a time.

The Pink-headed Fruit Dove shows to advantage in a spacious, well-planted aviary. A small cage is always a mistake with a highly frugivorous species, because it deprives the bird of exercise, allows it to squirt its feces in undesirable places, and generally creates a sickly sweetish smelling mess. You must have room and plenty of it. Fortunately, they don't destroy the trees and vegetation in their exhibits, so you don't have to constantly rotate new shrubs in and out of the aviary. A well-designed set-up should look good for a long time with a reasonable amount of care and attention. Given sufficient space, these beautiful birds can share with finches or non-aggressive softbills. They do not tolerate the cold, so you will need to be able to provide heat to the aviary in the cooler months, as well as protection against predators including rodents, raccoons, and hawks.

The Pink-headed Fruit Dove is a fruit-eating species, and a breeder who has experience with softbills will find it easier to feed this bird than someone who comes from a background of breeding seed-eating exotic doves. The basic diet is heavily based on chopped fruit, with some cooked brown rice, soaked raisin, and a small percentage of a high quality dog food added to the mix. An over-reliance on pellets or dog food may be harmful to this frugivore. Focus on providing good quality fruit and lots of it.

Written by Elaine Radford

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