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Green Imperial, Pied Imperial and unknown Pigeon Indonesia (1 Viewer)

Mark Lee

Member
I have received a lot of information about the Pigeon images that I took while off a small island south of Siberut in the Mentawais in Indonesia this last October. The images have the exact times they were taken so that I can determine which bird is which. #1 image is of a PIP, #2 & #3 are of the same GIP, and images #4 & #5 are of an unknown pigeon. These images were taken in late afternoon light and extremely magnified.

Any more comments would be helpful.

Thanks.

Mark
 

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Mark

I'm fairly sure you have photographed the very rare Silvery Pigeon Columba argentina! The dark area around the eye makes this near certain IMO

This bird is an island specialist of Indonesia Malaysia and there are records from Mentawi although it has been rarely recorded in recent years. HBW states "no recent records from w coast of sumatra)" and ..."there have been no recent reliable records"!

So you probably have a very important record there - might I suggest you pass the images to someone at Birdlife (with dates) for their records.

Thanks, alan lewis , UK
 
I still think it is a PIP, especially given the yellowish coloration which the Silvery Pigeon apparently never shows (showed).
 
I doubt anyone would accept these as certain Silvery, both because there are *no* confirmed records anywhere for many years, and secondly because it *never* has been recorded from Siberut (though it has been recorded from other islands in the region, and the possibility that it occurs - or at least occurred - on Siberut is there). The darkness would be fairly typical of how I'd expect a blurred photo to depict the contrastingly dark eye of the Pied. There's also the yellow tinge to the crissum [edit: Hanno was faster than I!], which would be at odds with anything I can find for Silvery, but would match Pied well (it's well known that they sometimes are tinged yellow, esp. on the lower underparts). I'm still not entirely sure what to make of the broadness of the black in the wings (as mentioned in the other thread; http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=134104), but in any case that's not something that's supposed to differ in the two species. Anyhow, that leaves me where I was in the other thread: In all likelyhood Pied, but with a tiny chance for Silvery.
 
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Hmmm - I can't quite equate that large dark area (on the first photo at least) with a blurred dark eye....but you may be right. As for any yellowish colouration, think there is a warming on the photos (low angle sun?) and I cannot place any reliance on that. I didn't realise there was a parallel thread on this to read.

I wonder if Filip Verbelen managed to find Silvery Pigeon on his recent island wanderings?

Regards

Alan
 
Thanks for the information and all of your expertise. The photos have been saturated a bit in "photofiltre" program. This seems to have brought out colors more, and yes it was taken in late afternoon light. Hopefully this coming fall I will be in the area again, and get some clearer photos of Pigeons.
Thanks again. Mark
 
The Photos #1, #2 and #3 are taken against the light and hence it is very hard to ID the bird by judging on its colors and the shadows may confuse us further.

However photos #4 and #5 are taken in relatively good lighting and are less affected by shadow. And the color looks more realistic also based on darker blue sky background. I am not expert in photograph or lighting effect but we can clearly tell #4 and #5 are better photos.

Despite backlighting for #1, #2 and #3, we are still able to ID the birds based on the subtle but crucial feature. Thanks to Rasmus in earlier related thread http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=134104 that photo #2 and #3 should be Green Imperial Pigeon even though I cannot make out whether the bird's lighter plumage is white or grey (or even pink). See another link to Green Imperial Pigeon that are also against the light. http://orientalbirdimages.org/searc...result&Bird_ID=737&Bird_Family_ID=&pagesize=1

For Photo #1. Based on its vent pattern and underwing pattern. This should be a Pied Imperial Pigeon. It is interesting also to note that the underwing pattern for this Pied Imperial Pigeon is consistent with those PIP found in Thailand, Singapore and even another race in Queensland, Australia. The head of bird in Photo #1 does not give much clues because of backlighting and distance.

For Photo #4 and #5. I have earlier pointed out its rather narrow black underwing pattern in another thread. http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=134104
On top of that, there is also a "crescent" like black underwing at the base of the primaries, which is not like a typical PIP.
Although the head pattern is not as clear as desired, one can still clearly see the white part around the 'big' eye in photo #4. It is difficult to explain the very 'big' eye is due to shadow or depression considering the direction of the light. So can the 'big' eye is due to darker bare skin or darker feather?

The underwing pattern may suggest an aberrant PIP. But the eye area may provide more important clues that may be indicative of Silvery, or yet another aberrant feature of this particular PIP?
 
But as said on the previous thread, the underwing pattern is the same in both PIP and Silvery. Hence the fact it doesn't match 'typical' PIP is not an argument in favour of Silvery Pigeon either.
 
mystery mentawai pigeon

Hi all,
I was able to compare the images with 8 specimens of silvery pigeons and the coloration and facial pattern matches that with the photos. The underwing pattern is NOT quite the same, as suggested by the specimens and i think we could say that these are among very few wild shots of silvery..

Ding Li
Singapore
 
Ding Li

Do you have any photos of the specimens? I imagine the spread wing is not set but any photos would be welcome.

Thanks, alan
 
Can anyone confirm this is a Green Imperial Pigeon. Taken in Borneo August 2008
 

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Hi all,
i've sieved through the net and surprisingly, found a photo of 2 silvery wood-pigeons in some birdkeeper's collection!

Alan,
i've taken some photos of the silvery pigeons here and will be posting them shortly. (If you like i can send them to you through your mail). As the specimens were very old, i am not able to set the wings, but i was able to pry them open lightly and true enough, Silvery has less black on the undersides because apparently the greater under primary coverts are grey, not black. Will keep you updated

Cheers
Ding Li
 
As the specimens were very old, i am not able to set the wings, but i was able to pry them open lightly and true enough, Silvery has less black on the undersides because apparently the greater under primary coverts are grey, not black.

The greater under primary coverts of the Pied are white. In other words, if they're grey in Silvery, it has less white than the Pied, but no difference in the amount of black. Additionally, what can be hinted on the two photos I've been able to locate of Silvery suggests that its primary coverts to the underwing are white too (greyish in one bird - a shadow/light issue?). The primary coverts on upperwing of both species are black (as can also be confirmed by the two photos of Silvery), but in any case they're clearly also black on the individual on Mark's photos. If it isn't something caused by the angle, the individual on Mark's photos appears to have less black than a typical Pied on the remiges (specifically secondaries & inner primaries) or that they're proportionally shorter thereby revealing less black (the latter would be pretty odd, considering that the Silvery apparently was/is a small island species often travelling relatively large distances - something that really doesn't match short remiges well). Longer upper- and underwing coverts could be another explanation, but in the case of the former that doesn't appear to be the case for the Silvery based on the two photos, and in the case of the latter that would be unique in the entire family and is therefore highly unlikely. So, unless something can confirm that one of these scenarios is correct, we're left with two species with roughly the same amount of black to the wing - as indeed also suggested by all the literature I've checked.

In any case I (and I am sure others, too) would be interested in seeing the photos of the specimen Silvery. I had always been under the impression that most of the older "important" Singapore bird specimens had ended up in Naturalis (Leiden, the Netherlands) and especially NHM (Tring & London, England), but with at least 8 Silvery in Singapore that clearly wasn't the case.

Anyhow, having looked again, that yellow just seems too strong and - arguably more important - too restricted to just be explained by random sunlight. That combined with likelyhood (no records ever of Silvery on the specific island; no records anywhere for quite some time) leads to me still feeling quite confident residing in the Pied camp, even if I wish it was a Silvery.

Ding Li, a small hint that may help answer the questions you posted on the OBC yahoo group: The captive Silveries you've seen photos of were apparently kept in Hong Kong by a person named Crimson Lam. If you follow the below link (note: captive birds warning for people wishing to avoid that) there's an email address just below the page counter that you may try, but as the page itself apparently hasn't been updated since 2002, it may not work anymore:

http://www.geocities.com/itzalam/crimsonbird.html

The person specifically states that (s)he started keeping doves & pigeons in 1999, though another possibility is that the Silveries were kept by someone else and only photographed by Crimson Lam (actually, based on these and numerous other photos I've seen that were taken by this person, I get the feeling they're screen-caps from videos, but I could be wrong). Regardless, this suggests that this species has been kept in captivity at least within the last ~10 years.
 
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The person specifically states that (s)he started keeping doves & pigeons in 1999, though another possibility is that the Silveries were kept by someone else and only photographed by Crimson Lam. Regardless, this suggests that this species has been kept in captivity at least within the last ~10 years.

... and this is what a bit of surfing turns up. Message by Crimson Lam on July 1 - 2000, stating that s(he) took photos of the Silvery at a friends place on the very same day:

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/doves-pigeons/message/12020
 
A comparison of three head shots:

1) Bird 4
2) Captive Silvery (Wood)pigeon
3) Pied Imperial Pigeon

OK, the first picture is highly pixelated but surely pied imp cannot look like that - the bill is dark and appears to show the same structure as the captive silvery (strong basal caruncle/cere?). The eyepatch seems striking and in similar roportion to the captire silvery. Surely photographic effect cannot "alter" a pied imp to this extent?

Cheers, alan
 

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A comparison of three head shots:

1) Bird 4
2) Captive Silvery (Wood)pigeon
3) Pied Imperial Pigeon

OK, the first picture is highly pixelated but surely pied imp cannot look like that - the bill is dark and appears to show the same structure as the captive silvery (strong basal caruncle/cere?). The eyepatch seems striking and in similar roportion to the captire silvery. Surely photographic effect cannot "alter" a pied imp to this extent?

It's not a nominate Pied on your 3d photo. It is a "melanura" Pied or, more likely, a Torresian, neither of which are found anywhere near the region where Mark's photos were taken. Here is a similar comparison with a nominate Pied, the subspecies found where Mark's photo was taken. First is the bird 4 photographed by Mark, second a nominate Pied from Thailand. Of note that the Pied has its bill pointed towards the camera, while it is pointing away in bird 4 (hence some shadow/perspective issues, e.g. bill appearing shorter when pointing away). Add a good blurr to the Pied, imagine it starting far smaller and being blown well up in size, and you're pretty close to a match (links to the original photos of bird 4 to see how they started: http://www.birdforum.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=181581&d=1234560617 & http://www.birdforum.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=181580&d=1234560607). Additionally, the nominate Pied can appear almost entirely dark-billed, e.g. http://orientalbirdimages.org/search.php?action=searchresult&Bird_ID=746 (if another Pied is uploaded to OBI, you may have to click "next" until reaching the photo by Raphaël Jordan). Interestingly, that individual appears quite "large-eyed", too. Indeed, even if we did assume that bird 4 was "larger-eyed" than a typical Pied, what would be most likely? An aberrant (e.g. eye-disease or injury - both of which are fairly frequent in Columbidae) individual of a species that is locally common or a species with no confirmed recent records on an island where it, even historically, never has been recorded? It is worth mentioning that the Thai Pied feature in the below composite has a yellow-tinged crissum too - just like bird 4. Based on the numerous photos I've been checking, it appears that the crissum is the part of the plumage that most commonly is tinged yellow in Pied, though it varies from essentially pure white to yellowish overall. So, that leaves me where I started: In all likelyhood Pied, but with a tiny chance for Silvery.
 

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Perfect summary Rasmus.
Any chance of a link anyone to the captive Silvery photos? The Yahoo group thread which holds the original message regarding these lacks attachments as far as I can see (maybe because I'm not a group member?)
Just interested to see some good pictures of this enigmatic species.
 
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