The Squatter Pigeon (southern) is a medium-sized, ground-dwelling pigeon that measures approximately 30 cm in length and weighs about 190-250 g. Adults are predominantly grey-brown, but have black and white stripes on the face and throat, blue-grey skin around the eyes, dark-brown (and some patches of iridescent green or violet) on the upper surfaces of the wings, blue-grey on the lower breast and belly, white on the lower region, flanks of the belly and extending onto the under surfaces of the wings, and a blackish-brown band along the trailing edge of the tail. They have black bills, dark-brown irises, and dull-purple legs and feet. The sexes are similar in appearance. Juvenile Squatter Pigeons (southern) can be distinguished from the adults by their duller colouring, the patchy, less distinctive appearance of their black and white facial stripes, and the paler colouring (buff to pale-yellow) of the facial skin. The southern and northern subspecies of the Squatter Pigeon are virtually identical except the southern subspecies tends to be slightly larger in the body, and the skin around the eyes is predominantly blue-grey compared to yellowy-orange to orange-red in the northern subspecies. Hybridisation. Evidence suggests that the southern and northern subspecies of the Squatter Pigeon cross-breed where their distributions overlap. However, the physical trait that was used to identify the hybrid forms (a combination of blue and red facial skin) has subsequently been found to be very common (but less conspicuous) among the southern subspecies. Further investigation is required before facial colouration can be accepted as an accurate indicator of hybrid forms.
Squatter Pigeon (southern) |
Geophaps scripta scripta
Status: Vulnerable on the EPBC Act list
Government evidence of impact of climate change:
Australian Government, Conservation Advice, Geophaps scripta scripta
Current threats include ongoing vegetation clearance and fragmentation; overgrazing of habitat by livestock and feral herbivores such as rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus); introduction of weeds; inappropriate fire regimes; thickening of understorey vegetation; predation by feral cats (Felis catus) and foxes (Vulpes vulpes); trampling of nests by domestic stock and illegal shooting (Garnett Crowley; 2000 Stewart; pers. comm. 2015).