The Pheasant Pigeon (Otidiphaps nobilis ) is a pigeon found in the primary rainforests of New Guinea. It ranges primarily over hilly and lower mountain areas, but can also be found in lowland areas.
The pheasant pigeon is an unusual pigeon of uncertain affinities within the Columbidae, and is monotypic within the genus Otidiphaps (Gould, 1870), and the sub-family Otidiphabinae. Its scientific name makes reference to its similarities to the bustard family, while its common name reflects its adaption to living on the forest floor in the fashion of a South East Asian pheasant, which it resembles, particularly in its laterally compressed tail. No pheasants occur in New Guinea and the pheasant pigeon has filled the niche. It is a highly secretive species, feeding on seeds and fallen fruits. It nests on the ground below trees and bushes, laying one egg that it incubates for around 4 weeks.
It is not currently considered threatened, although it has become locally extinct in some areas. Because it is tied to primary forests, and is unique within the pigeon family, it is considered a species that requires further investigation and monitoring.
- del Hoyo, Elliott and Sargatal (editors); Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol 4. ISBN 84-87334-22-9