Ian’s Bird of the Week – Chestnut-quilled Rock-Pigeon

Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeon (Petrophassa rufipennis) by Ian

Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeon (Petrophassa rufipennis) by Ian

Ian’s Newsletter – 09/16/2009

This is really the bird of last week as this is the first opportunity I’ve had for internet access for 12 days. We are in Kununurra now in far northeastern Western Australia, having arrived here yesterday from the Northern Territory. We spent most of the time in the Kakadu area, followed by a couple of days in Pine Creek between Darwin and Katherine.

The Chestnut-quilled Rock-Pigeon was on my primary target list – birds that I hadn’t seen before – so I was pleased to find this single bird at Bardedjildidji, a sandstone escarpment in eastern Kakadu near Ubirr on the border with Arhnem Land. It obligingly flew past us before landing in this small cave not too far away and not too inaccessible. You can see the chestnut on the partially open wing.

There are two species of Rock-Pigeon – this one and the closely related White-quilled Rock-Pigeon. Both have limited distributions in northern Australia, the Chestnut-quilled in the Kakadu area and the White-quilled farther west in the Top end of the Northern Territory and across the border into Western Australia. Both are found in very rugged sandstone country where they take refuge in crevices and caves.

The White-quilled is one of the reasons for coming as far as Kununurra and we are going to look for this species later this afternoon when it cools down a bit. It has been very hot for almost our entire stay, reaching 37-38ºC almost every day. So, birding has been hard work a lot of the time.

I’ll send another catch-up bird of the week in a day or two while I have the opportunity here in Kununurra.

Best wishes,

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au

Lee’s Addition: (bolding by Lee)


You who dwell in Moab, Leave the cities and dwell in the rock, And be like the dove which makes her nest In the sides of the cave’s mouth. (Jeremiah 48:28 NKJV)

One addition for us who use farenheit the 37-38° C is 98.6-100.4 F. Whew! That is hot!

“Description: (Collett 1898); Length 28 cm (12 – 12 1/2 inches). Head, neck, mantle & breast feathers dark sepia or dusky brown having a pale grey bases and buff fringes which form the scaly appearance. The throat & narrow stripe below & extending past the eye is white & is bordered above with a small black stripe extending thru the eye from the bill also bordered above with a thin white stripe. Primaries & secondaries bright chestnut with dark brown tips (chestnut color best seen when bird is in flight or stretching the wing). Belly and undertail dark brown. Eyes, bill, legs & feet dark brown. Female similar; juvenile are duller appearance.” from International Dove Society

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