Backyard Birds

Spinifex Pigeons

The Spinifex Pigeons, Geophaps plumifera, is a bird found in Australia.

Generally these pigeons live in stony areas with low woodlands and spinifex grasses. They are nomadic and terristrial.

The pigeons are seed eaters and are dependent on waterholes recharged by wet season monsoonal rains and showers.

As the dry season progresses they concentrate around the ever decreasing water sources. They are often found in pairs or groups.

(Columbidae – Please see also Doves)

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There are two races:

  • The White-bellied Spinifex Pigeon, Geophaps plumifera plumifera, is permanently found in the arid areas of north western, northern, eastern and central Australia.
  • The Red-bellied Spinifex Pigeon, Geophaps plumifera ferruginea is the second race, and can be permanently found the Pilbara, Western Australia.


There are only two Australian pigeon species / breeds that possess an erect crest, being the Spinifex and the Crested Pigeon.

The Spinifex Pigeon is the smaller of the two with length from 20 to 24 centimetres (8 to 9.6 inches).

Otherwise, both races have plumage that is rusty colored, which blends into the red soils of the arid areas. They also have a bright red facial patch around the eye with a ring of black and grey facial patches. They have black striations on their wings.

The genders are difficult to distinguish.

Their flight is low and fast, often flipping and gliding in the flight.

Call / Vocalization:

Their call is a high-pitched coo or a deep coo-r-r-r.

Breeding / Nesting:

The species breed in spring and summer or after rain. Two white eggs are laid in the shelter of a spinifex bush.

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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