With its dense blue-gray plumage and large, graceful crest, the Western Crowned Pigeon is the largest of pigeons, and to some, the most beautiful in existence; a podium shared with her cousins ​​the crowned Victoria and Sclater. This bird can reach a length of seventy centimeters and exceed two and a half kilos in weight.

Several specimens of this species walk daily through the aviary of Bioparc Fuengirola (Málaga) and, in recent weeks, a small offspring has joined them. After an incubation period of 28-30 days, the chick has hatched in a nest where it will remain with its parents for about a month.

The person in charge of Zoology and coordinator of Birds at Bioparc Fuengirola, Antonio Garrucho, has indicated that “we are dealing with a nesting bird that, during its first weeks of life, totally depends on its parents. A job that parents assume fifty percent. The hatchling needs them even after jumping from the nest, despite the fact that little by little it will begin to eat food on its own.

Among the more than 370 registered species of pigeons, the western crowned pigeons are characterized by their limited ability to fly. They only climb tree branches to nest or avoid predators. «They have terrestrial habits and little flight capacity. They only make small attempts when they climb to build their nests or to avoid predators”, Garrucho pointed out.

Living on an island these pigeons have evolved independently. As time passes, species that suffer from these types of isolation and conditions often develop a unique increase in body size, as well as loss of flight ability, as has happened to the western crowned pigeon.

THEY ONLY LIVE ON THE ISLAND OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA

The western crowned pigeon is endemic to West Papua, a province of Indonesia located in the western part of the island of Papua New Guinea. This endemic situation and the fragility of the ecosystem in which it lives are some of the threats to which the species is exposed. The different barriers that exist on the island have made them evolve, becoming isolated, they pointed out in a statement.

“The exclusivity of Nueva Guinea is incredible. This makes species such as the crowned pigeon a relic of the area. A space in which it lives with the other species of Coronada, also endemic to the island”, Garrucho pointed out.

Bioparc Fuengirola has been working on the conservation of the western crowned pigeon since 2005. It currently houses six specimens of this species, which represents almost 20 percent of the total population that lives in European zoos.

The western crowned pigeon lives with nine different species of birds and two of mammals, in the aviary of the Malaga animal park. A multispecies space where visitors can contemplate without barriers.

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