Regal ‘Victoria Crown Pigeon’ Is the World’s Largest and Most Beautiful Pigeon

Crested Feathers of a Victoria Crowned Pigeon

Photo: Stock Photos from Ruth Choi/Shutterstock

Most people who are only familiar with the common pigeons seen in the city don't necessarily consider them beautiful birds. But with over 300 species of pigeons and doves around the world, there are some unexpected beauties in the bunch. Perhaps no species of pigeon is more intriguing than the Victoria crowned pigeon (Goura victoria). With an elegant crest of feathers on its head, this stunning bird could be considered the supermodel of the pigeon world.

Native to the New Guinea region, the pigeon is named after the great 19th-century British monarch Queen Victoria. The large, ground-dwelling pigeon has deep blue-grey feathers, a maroon chest, and a black mask punctuated by brilliant red eyes. What really makes it special, though, is its crest. One of three species of crowned pigeons, the Victoria crowned pigeon has a clearly defined crest topped by white-tipped feathers. The incredible plumes help give the pigeon its elegant, regal appearance.

In fact, it's the white-tipped crest that distinguishes the Victoria crowned pigeon from the other two crowned pigeon species. Though somewhat similar in appearance, the western crowned pigeon (Goura cristata) and Scheepmaker's crowned pigeon (Goura scheepmakeri) have a more scraggly crown that almost looks like a nest of hair.

Portrait of a Victoria crowned pigeon

Photo: Stock Photos from bierchen/Shutterstock

While all crowned pigeons are larger than other pigeons, the Victoria crowned pigeon is actually the largest surviving species. Weighing up to 7.7 pounds and measuring up to 30 inches long, they are giants compared to other pigeons. To make a comparison, the common pigeon—or rock dove—is only half as long and weighs under a pound. Taking into account that Victoria crowned pigeons have a diet consisting of fallen fruit—they love figs—it's incredible how much they must have to eat to put on that weight. In fact, their size makes them more akin to a medium-size chicken than your average pigeon.

These friendly birds enjoy company, and typically travel in pairs or groups while they forage for food. They'll walk along the forest floor, gathering fruit, unless disturbed. Then, they'll make a loud clapping noise while they fly up into the trees for protection. Unfortunately, Victoria crowned pigeons are becoming increasingly rare in the wild, especially since their beauty makes them the most widely kept of the crowned species in captivity.

These majestic birds are slowly losing habitat due to logging and are also under threat from people who hunt them for their feathers and meat. In fact, they are rarely found near populated areas due to excessive hunting. They are now listed as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The Victoria crowned pigeon is a large bird known for its gorgeous crest of feathers.

Goura victoria Perched on a Tree

Photo: Stock Photos from apiguide/Shutterstock

Two Victoria Crowned Pigeons Sitting on a Log

Photo: Stock Photos from vespaFoto/Shutterstock

Native to the New Guinea region, these elegant birds are now largely found in captivity.

Victoria Crowned Pigeon Sitting on the Ground

Photo: Stock Photos from apiguide/Shutterstock

Close Up of a Victoria Crowned Pigeon

Photo: Stock Photos from MyImages – Micha/Shutterstock

There are two other crowned pigeon species that look similar but have a less distinct crest.

Western crowned pigeon

Western crowned pigeon (Photo: Stock Photos from Alexandre Tziripouloff/Shutterstock)

Common crowned pigeon

Western crowned pigeon (Photo: Stock Photos from Danny Ye/Shutterstock)

Southern Crowned Pigeon

Scheepmaker's crowned pigeon (Photo: Stock Photos from Anky/Shutterstock)

Portrait of a Scheepmaker's crowned pigeon

Scheepmaker's crowned pigeon (Photo: Stock Photos from Stephen Barnes/Shutterstock)

Related Articles:

Pretty Pigeon Portraits Celebrate the Overlooked Beauty of the Common City Bird

Magnificent Photos of Pigeons in Flight by David Stephenson

Goth Chicken Is Completely Black from Its Feathers to Its Bones

Portraits of “Most Beautiful Chickens on the Planet” Capture Their Underrated Beauty

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content