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PITTSBURGH, Pa.—Tweetspeak students traveled to the National Aviary in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Feb. 21. With over 150 varied and unique species of birds, it can be very simple to become confused when birds look similar. The first and most noticeable feature in identifying birds is color. When looking at the Pied Imperial Pigeon and the Crested Coua, one of the few similarities was the same order and color. They both live in a rain forest environment and possess a similar white under belly, the two birds are both fairly unique.

Imperial Pigeon- Habitat/Range.  Southeast Asian coastal islands and surrounding wetlands.

  • Myanmar
  • Thailand
  • South to Java
  • Philippines
  • Herbivore- focused on fruits

The Pied Imperial Pigeon (Ducula bicolor) is a relatively large, pied species of pigeon. It is found in heavily dense forest areas. It can be found mainly in Southeast Asia, ranging from Myanmar and Thailand south to Java and east to the Philippines. It is mainly found on small islands and in coastal regions.  (INSERT HYPERLINK TO SOURCE) Its taxonomy is confusing and remains unsettled. Some ornithologists don’t know what family it is a part of.

For the feathers, it has white plumage with a blacked tip tail and blacked tip feathers. The diet of the Imperial Pigeon consist of mainly eats seeds, fruit, and bugs.

The Crested Coua (Coua cristata) is a medium-sized, around 44 cm long, greenish-grey coua with grey crest, blue bare orbital skin, rufous breast, brown iris, black bill and legs, white belly and long white-tipped purplish-blue tail feathers. They are very attractive birds.

The crested coua is distributed and endemic to forests of Madagascar. The diet consists of insects, fruits, berries, seeds, and oddly enough snails.

Both of these birds were found at the rain forest exhibit at the aviary. While they do live in forested areas, they live in different parts of the world. The Crested Coua lives on the island of Madagascar in Africa. The Imperial Pigeon is scattered throughout the world. It can be easily in the areas of Southeast Asia though. The forested areas work best since they have such a wide food source for both species to munch down on. They also provide valuable nesting grounds for matting.

The behavior of the Imperial Pigeon was a very social one. They always seem to be in some sort of pack at the aviary. They also always seem to be bobbing their heads whenever they walk. They also liked to stay up high in the trees away from everything that wasn’t another Imperial Pigeon. The Crested Coua meanwhile, spent a lot of time alone. There were only two compared to the seven Imperial Pigeons, but the Coua still did not want to interact with any other birds. They also stayed lower to the ground perching on branches and even railing close to humans.

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