Nicobar Pigeon: The Jewel of the Islands in the Indian Ocean’s Remote Nicobar Archipelago

The global population of this species has not been quantified, but it is described as ranging from uncommon to rare, although it is not as rare in smaller island populations.

The pigeon species is suspected to be declining at a moderate to rapid rate due to habitat destruction, trapping for food and pet trade, as well as the impacts of introduced predatory animals.

This is a large pigeon species, measuring up to 40 cm (16 in) in length. The head is gray, similar to the upper neck feathers. The tail is very short and pure white. The rest of the plumage is a shining greenish-blue color. The iris is dark.

The female pigeon is slightly smaller than the male. Nicobar pigeons are often seen alone, in pairs, or in small flocks. They nest in colonies on the same type of tree.

The nests are simple and located 3-10m above the ground. They lay one egg, and the incubation period is around 20-24 days. The sexual maturity of Nicobar pigeons is usually reached at around 1-1.3 years of age.


This species typically forms dense flocks on small offshore islands with dense vegetation or forages in adjacent (or larger) mainland areas, ranging up to at least 500 m.

It favors uninhabited and remote small islands with dense virgin forest vegetation, although it needs to be close enough to large lowland tropical forest areas for foraging.

Nesting occurs on trees and thick shrubs, with nest size comparable to a cup.

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