Species in Profile – Wompoo Fruit Dove
The Wompoo fruit-dove Ptilinopus magnificus is a large, beautiful, rainforest bird that is found across the Big Scrub. The birds do not travel large distances but move around in small, localised areas in search of fruit-bearing trees. They are the largest bird that disperses fruits and therefore play a key role in natural regeneration as 70% of Big Scrub tree species have fleshy fruits. Sadly, the Wompoo is listed as vulnerable in NSW as its rainforest habitat has been largely cleared, particularly in the Big Scrub. The Wompoo is our emblem because of its beauty, the key roles it plays in seed dispersal and as an indicator of restoration success. It is the bird that you see depicted on our logo. Help us protect the Wompoo by donating now to our Remnant Care Program.
The Wompoo fruit dove, also known as the Wompoo pigeon, is a large rainforest bird with a rich purple throat, chest and upper belly, and yellow lower belly. It has mostly green underparts, with a paler grey head and a conspicuous yellow wing-bar. The presence of Wompoos can be confirmed by listening for its distinct call, a deep ‘wollack-wa-hoo, or a quieter ‘wompoo’.
The Wompoo fruit-dove is identified by its large size, it is perhaps the most beautiful of all the doves found in Australia, and both sexes are similar in plumage. Birds from the north are smaller than those in the south. Young Wompoos are duller and greener than the adults.
In NSW, the species is distributed along the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range from the Queensland border south to the Hunter River.
The most favoured habitat of the Wompoo Fruit-Dove is rainforest, and birds are rarely seen in other areas. The birds do not travel large distances, but move around in small, localised areas in search of fruit-bearing trees.
Australia has three discrete Wompoo Fruit-Dove populations along the east coast: from central eastern New South Wales to central eastern Queensland; north-eastern Queensland; and northern Cape York Peninsula. This species also occurs in New Guinea. The Wompoo fruit-dove is more common and abundant in the northern parts of its range.
Wompoo fruit-doves feed on a variety of rainforest fruits. The fruits are eaten whole and may be quite large in size – up to 2 cm diameter for round fruits. The birds are hard to see when feeding and are best located by their calls or the sound of falling fruit. They may form large feeding flocks where food is plentiful, and the birds acrobatically pluck the fruit from trees and vines high up in the canopy area.
In the north of the Wompoo fruit-dove’s range the breeding season may vary in response to suitable weather conditions. Both sexes share the construction of the twig nest, which may be placed quite low down in a tree. A white egg is laid, and both sexes share the incubation and care of the chick. Only one chick is raised in a season, but birds may breed a second time if the first attempt fails.