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Black Wood Pigeon - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Japanese Wood Pigeon, Black Wood-Pigeon

Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Amami Nature Forest Observatory, Amami-Oshima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan, 3 September 2019
Columba janthina


Photo © by john_wright
Nomozaki Peninsula, Nagasaki, Japan, 21 April 2011

Length: 37-43.5cm (14½-17¼")
The largest pigeon in the East Asia region Very dark in appearance, with small head, longish neck and tail. Overall the body is soot-black with iridescent green or purple on crown, shoulders and sides of neck. C. j. nitens has reddish or purplish coloration on face, head and upper back of neck. Bill is longish, narrow and dark with ivory tip. Tarsi are red in adults while paler in juveniles. Appears like a crow in flight, with large wings and slightly fanned tail.


Asia: found in China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.



There are 2 subspecies[1]:

  • C. j. janthina:
  • C. j. nitens:
  • Ogasawara (Bonin Islands) and Iwo (Volcano Islands)

An additional subspecies stejnegeri is generally considered a synonym of janthina.


Forest, primarily old-growth.



Primarily Camellia seeds, but also other seeds, buds and fruits.


Nest reported to usually be in a hole in a tree, also sometimes among rocks. A single egg is laid. Nesting season is February through September.


Typical call is a long, drawn-out cow-like mooing, also a lamb-like bleating during courtship.


Assumed largely resident, but occasional sightings away from known areas indicate some migratory movement.


  1. Clements, J. F., P. C. Rasmussen, T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, A. Spencer, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2023. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2023. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2023. IOC World Bird List (v 13.2). Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.13.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. Avibase
  4. Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., de Juana, E., Sharpe, C.J. & Boesman, P. (2019). Japanese Woodpigeon (Columba janthina). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/54122 on 4 October 2019).
  5. BirdLife International 2016. Columba janthina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22690206A93265097. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22690206A93265097.en. Downloaded on 15 October 2019.
  6. Brazil, M. (1991). The Birds of Japan. Smithsonian Inst. Press. Washington, D.C. ISBN 1-56098-030-3
  7. Brazil, M. (2018). Birds of Japan. Helm, London. ISBN 978-1-4729-1386-9

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1