Pigeons & Doves of Vietnam – Columbidae

With 23 species Pigeons & Doves of Vietnam, occurring over the country, some species really hard to see Vietnam’s two forest jewels, the striking Nicobar Pigeon, Mountain Imperial-Pigeon and the more understated, though equally desirable, Pied Imperial-Pigeon, will without doubt appear near the top of any birders wish list. Being near-endemic, their ranges spill over borders into several neighbouring countries but Vietnam is unquestionably the stronghold of these two beauties of the forest floor.

The overview of Pigeons & Doves families

Columbidae (/kəˈlʌmbɪdiː/) is a bird family consisting of doves and pigeons. It is the only family in the order Columbiformes. These are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills that in some species feature fleshy ceres. They primarily feed on seeds, fruits, and plants. The family occurs worldwide, but the greatest variety is in the Indomalayan and Australasian realms.

The family contains 344 species divided into 50 genera. Thirteen of the species are extinct.

In English, the smaller species tend to be called “doves” and the larger ones “pigeons”. However, the distinction is not consistent, and does not exist in most other languages. Historically, the common names for these birds involve a great deal of variation among the terms. The bird most commonly referred to as just “pigeon” is the domestic pigeon, which is common in many cities as the feral pigeon.

Pigeons and Doves exhibit considerable variation in size, ranging in length from 15 to 75 centimeters (5.9 to 29.5 in), and in weight from 30 g (0.066 lb) to above 2,000 g (4.4 lb). The largest species is the crowned pigeon of New Guinea, which is nearly turkey-sized, at a weight of 2–4 kg (4.4–8.8 lb).

The smallest is the common ground Dove (Columbina passerina) of the genus Columbina, which is the same size as a house sparrow, weighing as little as 22 g (0.049 lb). The dwarf fruit dove, which may measure as little as 13 cm (5.1 in), has a marginally smaller total length than any other species from this family. One of the largest arboreal species, the Marquesan imperial pigeon, currently battles extinction.

Pigeons & Doves of Vietnam Highlight Note

Pigeons & Doves of Vietnam

Pale-capped Pigeon Columba punicea

Status: Uncommon resident – Vulnerable

Best time to watch & Photo: Nov

Tour cover: South East & Central Highland

Hotspot: Cat Tien, Da Lat Plateau

1 5 WANEE asia

Nicobar Pigeon Caloenas nicobarica

Status: Uncommon resident – Near Threatened

Best time to watch & Photo:

Tours: South Vietnam

Hotspot: Cat Tien, Ma Da

Pigeons & Doves of Vietnam

Ashy-headed Green-Pigeon Treron phayrei

Status: Uncommon resident – Near Threatened

Best time to watch & Photo:

Tours: South East Vietnam

Hotspot: Cat Tien, Tan Phu

Pigeons & Doves of Vietnam

Mountain Imperial-Pigeon Ducula badia

Status: Uncommon resident – Near Threatened

Best time to watch & Photo: Jan-Mar

Tours: Central Vietnam

Hotspot: Tam Dao, Bach Ma, Da Lat, Kon Tum

Pigeons & Doves of Vietnam

Barred Cuckoo Dove Macropygia unchall

Status: common resident

Best time to watch & Photo:

Tours: South East & Central Vietnam

Hotspot: Cat Tien, Dalat


Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica

Status: Local common resident (throughout)

Best time to watch & Photo: Feb-Apr

Tours: Throughout Vietnam

Hotspot: Cat Tien, Ma Da, Tan Phu

Pigeons & Doves of Vietnam

Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon Treron sphenurus

Status: Common resident

Best time to watch & Photo: Jan-Oct

Tours: Central Vietnam

Hotspot: Da Lat, Kontum Plateau


Pink-necked Green Pigeon Treron vernans

Status: Common resident

Best time to watch & Photo: Jun-Aug

Tours: South Vietnam

Hotspot: Tram Chim, Can Gio, Cat Tien


Pied Imperial Pigeon Ducula bicolor

Status: Uncommon resident

Best time to watch & Photo: Jan-Jun

Tours: Mekong Delta

Hotspot: Mekong Delta

List of all Pigeons & Doves in Vietnam

1Rock PigeonConfuse
2Ashy Wood-PigeonHard
3Pale-capped PigeonHard
4Oriental Turtle-DoveEasy
5Red Collared-DoveEasy
6Spotted DoveEasy
7Barred Cuckoo-DoveMaybe
8Little Cuckoo-DoveMaybe
9Asian Emerald DoveEasy
10Zebra DoveEasy
11Nicobar PigeonHard
12Pink-necked Green-PigeonEasy
13Orange-breasted Green-PigeonEasy
14Ashy-headed Green-PigeonEasy
15Thick-billed Green-PigeonEasy
16Yellow-footed Green-PigeonHard
17Yellow-vented Green-PigeonHard
18Pin-tailed Green-PigeonMaybe
19Wedge-tailed Green-PigeonMaybe
20White-bellied Green-PigeonMaybe
21Green Imperial-PigeonEasy
22Mountain Imperial-PigeonEasy
23Pied Imperial-PigeonHard

Note: Hard – Really hard to see; Maybe – …..; Easy – Easy to see with guide; Impossible – Weak info; Lack Data – Consider out of list

All Vietnam Birds Families

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