In my last post about the birdlife here in Fiji, I concentrated on the small and medium-sized birds that I have seen and photographed thus far. This post is dedicated to the doves (or pigeons, they are actually the same thing). There is a variety of beautiful doves that can be found here but some are incredibly hard to find and by no means have I seen them all.
In this post you will find the following doves:
In Germany, doves are regarded as pests by most people, and as far as I am aware we don’t really have several species there. I love that here I Fiji, some doves are very elusive and particularly beautiful. The most common pigeon species we see around here is the Spotted Dove and the Feral pigeon. During our walks in Colo-i-Suva there are plenty of barking pigeons up in the trees. Their barking-sounding call is also one of the most dominant ones we hear in the rainforest and gave them their name.
Over the months I have visited the beautiful private Wakaya Island a few times, which is just about a 2-3 hour journey from Suva (first a car ride, and then a little more than one-hour boat ride past Ovalau island). It was only until my last visit there, that someone made me aware of a group of doves sitting in two distinct trees on the resort grounds. Upon closer inspection, the beautiful many-colored fruit doves revealed themselves. They were rather shy and didn’t really like me coming too close, but eventually, I managed to snap a few great images of the male and female. Equipped with only my 70.200mm f/2.8, I hope to be back there with my 600mm some time soon. The other species I was able to photograph there was the Pacific Imperial Pigeon, that I haven’t seen anywhere else thus far.
We have been able to see the golden dove twice thus far, only females though. It is an incredibly well-camouflaged bird with green feet, green feathers and a green beak! The male with its golden appearance gave this species its name and I would really love to get to see one, but no luck so far. We do know a spot where we keep hearing their calls, which sounds like a puppy barking.
Edit May 2020: We finally came across a few golden dove males and currently do sight them quite frequently in certain spots of Colo-i-Suva. It must be mating season for the doves at the moment, as there is a lot of commotion in the trees and high abundances of barking pigeons chasing each other. A good time to be out birding!
Female Golden Dove (Chrysoena luteovirens)
I would appreciate any hints of spots or places where I can find other species. Any tips out there? Vinaka and enjoy your birdwatching!
Tom is an award-winning photographer and filmmaker and Marine Biologist specializing in conservation imagery & film, photojournalism, and promotional tourism work. Tom has won several awards, his films have been screened on film festivals throughout the world, and his images and stories have been published in dozens of articles in international magazines.
Tom is based in Suva, Fiji Islands and shares his workload between environmental assignments and promotional tourism work throughout the Pacific. In 2020, Tom founded Pacific Media House, a company offering photography & film services all across the Pacific.
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