Order: Columbiformes

Family:  Columbidae

Scientific name: Columba elphinstonii, Sykes, 1832

IUCN Red list status- Vulnerable

Did you know?

  1. Nilgiri Wooed Pigeon is endemic to South India
  2. Niligiri Wood Pigeon is monotypic species which means it does not have any sub species.


The Nilgiri wood pigeon is a large pigeon, which 35 to 40 cm in long and weighs 380 grams. The head and under parts are bluish gray. The wings are dark maroon and mantle is purple maroon. Adults have striking black and white checked pattern on the neck. The tail is dark gray. The base of the bill is red and the tip is pale yellow. The feet are red. Both sexes look similar.


The diet of these Nilgiri wood pigeon species is mostly wild fruits. Wild fruits, berries, seeds, flowers and leaf buds are their primary food. They feed mainly by gleaning on the outer branches of the middle and upper canopy. Sometimes, they decent to the forest floor to forage on fallen fruits. Sometimes they feed snails and invertebrates. They also take soil, perhaps to supplement mineral nutrients or aid digestion. The foraging time is mainly day and it is done solitarily or in small groups.


Nilgiri wood pigeon species are highly forest dependent.  They can be seen in moist evergreen and semi-evergreen forest ecosystems. They are also seen in shola forests, foothill forests and plantations. They are endemic to South India particularly in Western Ghats from Kerala to Bombay including Nilgiri, Palani and Anamalai Hills.

Reproductive Behaviour

The breeding season of these species is from March to July in the Western Ghats. The nest is a flimsy platform made of twigs in which the contents are often visible from below. Normally one pure white egg is laid. The incubation period is 14-18 days. All parental duties are shared by both birds.


Call is Langur like “who” followed by 3 or 4 quicker repeated “who-who-who

Related Species and Sub Species

  • Purple Wood Pigeon (Columba punicea)
  • Blue Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)

Migratory Behaviour

Non Migratory, but Uncommon Resident