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Nilgiri Wood Pigeon - BirdForum Opus

Columba elphinstonii
Photo by Rakesh
Photographed: Nandi Hills, Bangalore, India.


A mid-sized, quite dark forest pigeon.

  • Checkerboard nape pattern
  • Grey head with paler throat
  • Green-purple iridescence on neck-sides and upper mantle
  • Very dark, chestnut mantle


  • Darker grey crown
  • Only weak, grey-tipped neck patch
  • Rufous edgings to wing-coverts

In flight

  • Very dark grey underwing-coverts

This species is may be confused with Ashy Wood Pigeon or Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon, but their ranges don't overlap. In flight confusion with Malabar Imperial Pigeon possible, but underwing-coverts in this species paler.


Western Ghats in southwestern India. From N Maharashtra south, missing in most of Karnataka, but occuring in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Records from SE Ghats and NE Ghats doubtful. Very local and scarce. Declining in most of its range.


Monotypic. Forms a superspecies with Ashy Wood Pigeon Columba pulchricollis and Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon Columba torringtoni.


Deciduous forest from the foothills up to 2000m. Breeding records usually above 1000m.


Shy and hard to find. Mainly arboreal, often in pairs or small groups. Follows fruiting trees, so occurence is erratic.
Breeding mostly form April to June. Typical Pigeon nest (platfrom of twigs). Lays 1 egg.
Feeds arboreally on fruits, berries and buds. May take fallen fruits and snails on the forest ground.
Doesn't migrate, but some wandering following fruiting trees takes place.

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GSearch checked for 2020 platform.