The partridge pigeon is a terrestrial, generally dull-coloured squat medium-small pigeon. It can attain a length of up to 28 cm and reach weights of up to 250 g. The most distinctive feature of the subspecies is a patch of bright-red bare skin around the eye, this patch is coloured yellow in the western subspecies (G. s. blaauwi). Both subspecies also have a prominent white patch on the underwing that is conspicuous when the bird is in flight.
Partridge Pigeon (eastern) |
Geophaps smithii smithii
Status: Vulnerable on the EPBC Act list
Government evidence of impact of climate change:
Australian Government, Conservation Advice, Geophaps smithii smithii
Threats The primary threat to the eastern subspecies of partridge pigeon is a change in fire regime; resulting in fires that extend over large areas and the loss of a landscape scale mosaic of habitat patches with varying fire histories (Fraser; 2001 Fraser et al.; 2003 Woinarski et al.; 2007).
As partridge pigeons construct nests from highly flammable dry grasses; and nest during the dry season when fires are more prevalent; an increase in the extent or frequency of fire is likely to result in increased mortality of eggs and or young (Woinarski; 2004).
Two further threats; predation by feral cats (Felis catus) and an increase in exotic pasture grasses; are associated with fire (Woinarski; 2004).
This is likely to disadvantage pigeons as the fuel loads of exotic grasses are so large that; when they burn; they change the vegetation structure and affect food resource available for granivores such as the partridge pigeon (Rossiter et al.; 2003).
These grasses replace native species and greatly increase the fuel load; typically leading to fire intensities an order of magnitude greater than that typical with native grass under stories (Rossiter et al.; 2003).