Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Common emerald dove

Thai: นกเขาเขียว, nok khao kieow

Binomial name: Chalcophaps indica, Carolus Linnaeus, 1758

The common emerald dove is a pigeon which is a widespread resident breeding bird in the tropical and sub-tropical parts of the Indian Subcontinent and east through Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia, to northern and eastern Australia. The dove is also known by the names of green dove and green-winged pigeon. The common emerald dove is the state bird of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

It has a number of subspecies, with three existing in Australia, longirostris from the Kimberly, Western Australia to Cape York Peninsula, chrysochlora from Cape York Peninsula to southern New South Wales as well as Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island, and natalis from Christmas Island.

This is a common species in rainforest and similar dense wet woodlands, farms, gardens, mangroves and coastal heaths. It builds a scant stick nest in a tree up to five metres and lays two cream-coloured eggs. Breeding tends to occur in Australia spring or early summer in southeastern Australia and late in the dry season in northern Australia.

Its flight is fast and direct, with the regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings which are characteristic of pigeons in general. It often flies low between the patches of dense forest it prefers, but when disturbed will frequently walk away rather than fly. They are particularly good weavers when flying through forests. When flying they expose a buff underwing and a chestnut colour of their flight feathers.

The common emerald dove is a stocky, medium-sized pigeon, typically 23 to 28 centimetres (10 to 11.2 inches) in length. The back and wings are bright emerald green. The flight feathers and tail are blackish, and broad black and white bars show on the lower back in flight. The head and underparts are dark vinous pink (in chrysochlora, more brown in longirostris), fading to greyish on the lower belly. The eyes are dark brown, the bill bright red and legs and feet rufous.

The male has a white patch on the edge of the shoulders and a grey crown, which the female lacks. Females will tend to have a browner complexion with a grey mark on the shoulder. Immature birds resemble females but have brown scallops on their body and wing plumage.

Emerald doves usually occur singly, pairs or in small groups. They are quite terrestrial, often searching for fallen fruit on the ground and spending little time in trees except when roosting. They eat seeds and fruits of a wide variety of plants and are generally tame and approachable.

The call is a low soft moaning cooing consisting of about six to seven coos starting quietly and rising. They also call a nasal "hoo-hoo-hoon". Males perform a bobbing dance during courtship.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Columbiformes
Family
Columbidae
Genus
Chalcophaps
Species
Chalcophaps indica

Common names

  • English:
    • Common emerald dove
    • Emerald dove
    • Grey-capped emerald dove
    • Asian emerald dove
  • Thai: นกเขาเขียว, nok khao kieow

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Common emerald dove, Chalcophaps indica in Thailand

Range map of Chalcophaps indica in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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