The Complete Guide To The Pink-Necked Green Pigeon (The Rainbow Pigeon)

When people think of pigeons, they naturally think of the gray pecking things that inhabit urban cities.

It’s not often that people will call pigeons beautiful, but they’ve probably not come across one of the most unique and pretty pigeons in the world – the pink-necked green pigeon. 

Affectionately nicknamed the rainbow pigeon, the pink-necked green pigeon is one of the most underrated and unknown birds.

Other than their unique plumage, this species is peaceful, docile, and lives a pretty dreamy lifestyle. 

If you’ve stumbled across a picture of this species and you’re wondering how you’ve managed to go your whole life without knowing about this rainbow pigeon, you’ve come to the right place. 

Here is the complete guide to the pink-necked green pigeon! 

Taxonomy Of The Pink-Necked Green Pigeon 

Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus originally called the species Columba vernans in 1771, with Columba being the Latin word for “rock dove” (pigeon) and vernans originating from the Latin word vernatis, translating to flourishing or brilliant.  

The pink-necked green pigeon’s range expands across South Asia.

Despite its colorful and unique plumage, this species is completely natural and distantly related to the Indian orange-breasted green pigeon and other species within the “green pigeon” group. 

Interestingly, nine subspecies of the pink-necked green pigeon have been identified, but none of these species have been taxonomically recognized.

While they are listed in the Handbook of the Birds of the World, the species as a whole is considered monotypic as other important ornithological checklists haven’t confirmed the validity of the nine subspecies. 

Habitat Of The Pink-Necked Green Pigeon

Pink-necked green pigeons are native to a vast range across South Asia, including but not limited to southern Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Bali, the Greater Sundas, and even parts of the Philippines. 

Due to its expansive population range, rainbow pigeons are seen in a variety of habitats. These habitats include coastal mangroves, primary forests, secondary forests, and the edge of forests.

This species is fairly adaptable to these environments, and they are equally comfortable in lowlands as well as aptitudes of up to 3,900 feet. 

The pink-necked green pigeon isn’t a migratory bird, but research has shown that this species makes similar movements to migratory birds due to their habitat adaptability.

This adaptability was proven after the 1883 volcanic eruption of Krakatoa, resulting in the existence of many smaller islands, wherein the pink-necked green pigeon was one of the first bird species documented making a home on these islands. 

This species is also known to live amongst areas of quiet human habitation, including agricultural farmland, plantations, and backyards.

They’re often found living in urban areas like cities, too, if the city is abundant in fruit trees. 

Pink-Necked Green Pigeon Conservation Status

Thanks to the expansive habitat range of the pink-necked green pigeon and lack of human interaction, the conservation status of this species is “Least Concern”.

As this is the lowest conservation category for animals, this means that the rainbow pigeon isn’t even close to extinction! 

However, as we all know, conservation statuses can change within a matter of decades due to habitat destruction, global warming, and poaching to name a few.

Therefore, even though the conservation status of this species is “Least Concern”, we still must make the efforts to maintain this status to extend the overall conservation of the spectacular pink-necked green pigeon. 

What Do Pink-Necked Green Pigeons Look Like?

Wingspan: 28 inches

Length: 10-12 inches

Weight: 3.5-5.5 oz

Pink-necked green pigeons don’t look anything like you would imagine they would, considering how pigeons are generally always assumed to be bluish-gray.

Instead, there’s a very good reason why this species is aptly nicknamed “rainbow pigeons”. 

The pink-necked green pigeon is a medium-sized bird complete with a colorful plumage adapted to camouflage into the fruit trees that they like to live in.

Each bird will have slightly varying coloration, but generally speaking, the head is a pale light blue that transcends into a lavender-pink neck (hence the name).

The breast is the brightest part of the bird, a powerful orange, which then blends into a pale green end of the body.

The green often varies between pale lime and pale olive. All the colors blend together as if they were painted on the bird with watercolor paints. 

The legs of the bird are also a pale green, while the feet are bright pink.

The tail is lavender and transcends to a dark gray edge, as well as the wings that also feature a dark bar common in most pigeon species.

Unlike regular feral pigeons, the pink-necked green pigeon has a pale beak that blends into their head, and dark magenta eyes. 

The key difference between the male and female pink-necked green pigeon is that, as with most wild birds, the male is far more colorful than the female.

The female is smaller than the male and is mostly green and pale yellow. This adaptation is probably due to the courting males have to complete to get a female. 

Pink-Necked Green Pigeon Behavior

Like most feral and domestic pigeons, the pink-necked green pigeon isn’t easily startled and possesses a relatively laid-back behavior.

They’re comfortable around people and most other animals, and aren’t prone to be aggressive. 

However, unlike feral and domestic pigeons, this species isn’t noisy and doesn’t make the classic “cooing” call.

Instead, these birds are known to quack and whistle among other species-specific calls. 

What Do Pink-Necked Green Pigeons Eat?

Pink-necked green pigeons are notorious frugivores, meaning they predominantly eat fruit! As with their habitats, these birds aren’t fussy eaters, so they will happily feast on figs among other fruits.

If their preferred fruit isn’t available, they will eat seeds and buds and berries. 

Like most pigeon species, the pink-necked green pigeon is a sociable bird who will often share their food in a large flock of up to 70 birds. 

Pink-Necked Green Pigeon Breeding Habits

Breeding is documented throughout the year with this species, but the quietest month for breeding is February.

Like most pigeon species, the pink-necked green pigeon is a monogamous bird who mates with their partner for life.

Both the male and female will contribute in building the nest, with the male gathering materials and the female in control of building the structure.

These materials are found commonly on the forest floor, including twigs and vegetation. The nests are generally built around 10 meters from the ground in low-lying trees, shrubs, and bushes.

Little is known about mating rituals, but once successful, the female will lay a clutch of 1-2 eggs. Both parents will share the responsibilities of incubation and feeding until the chicks are ready to fly away, which is believed to be around 10 days after hatching. As most pigeon chicks leave the nest after 30 days, it just goes to show how quickly pink-necked green pigeons grow!

Can I Own A Pink-Necked Green Pigeon?

While the pink-necked green pigeon can exist around humans in urban areas, it is not recommended owning one as a pet.

Even though their conservation status is “Least Concern”, this doesn’t mean they should be taken out of their natural habitat.

These are tropical birds, after all, which means that removing them from their habitat can affect the entire ecosystem. 

As tropical birds, the pink-necked green pigeon would require a large aviary system to mimic their natural habitat.

Their enclosure will have to be large enough to accommodate several fruit trees, which isn’t something most people are prepared to do in their backyards.

Their diet is also unlike domestic pigeons, which mainly eat seeds and grains, which isn’t always easy to replicate in captivity. 

The best way to enjoy these spectacular birds is to watch them in their own environment, where they are most happy. 

Pink-Necked Green Pigeon Fun Facts 

  • The pink-necked green pigeon went viral on Twitter in March 2021 after an image was shared across the internet of the colorful bird. The rainbow bird got so famous that it made headlines across mainstream media!
  • In Vietnam, the species is known as “punay”. 
  • As the pink-necked green pigeon loves to eat fruits, they are considered one of nature’s best gardeners. Once they eat the fruit, they will disperse the fruit’s seeds or nuts onto the forest floor, allowing for the regrowth of new fruit trees. Alternatively, this provides easy food for animals who survive off fruit nuts and seeds!
  • Within 10 days, pink-necked green pigeon chicks go from dark nude with sporadically-placed white feathers to a bright and colorful plumage. 
  • The nest of a pink-necked green pigeon is so thin and flimsy that you can see the eggs from underneath it. This is the main reason why it’s not wise to touch their nests!
  • The main predator to the pink-necked green pigeon is other birds of prey that feast on smaller birds. These birds include peregrine falcons and white-bellied sea-eagles. The threat of deforestation, pollution, and human destruction is also considered a huge predator to the species.