Scientific Name: Chalcophaps indica
Pigeons produce a rich, regurgitated food for their chicks, sometimes known as 'pigeon milk'. On this diet the hatchlings grow at a rapid rate and can fly within a couple of weeks of hatching.
The iridescent green wings and shoulders are the most striking features of the emerald ground dove. The head and underside of the male are a pale wine colour, while the beak is bright red. The female in contrast has a more orange coloured beak and the head and breast areas are more greyish-brown. These are relatively small pigeons, rarely exceeding 26cm in length.
As its common name suggests, much of its time is spent on the ground foraging for food, although it is a strong flier when necessary. Its preferred habitat are the rainforests and wet eucalypt forests of coastal eastern and northern Australia.
Seed and fruit eaters, emerald doves will readily eat and disperse the seeds of many introduced plant pests such as lantana, inkweed and wild tobacco.
Common to all pigeons, male emerald doves carry out an impressive courtship display with rhythmic bowing and cooing repeated many times. Both male and female contribute to building the untidy platform of twigs in which two white eggs are deposited.