This is cause for celebration! 

And they are celebrating at Virginia Zoo because, at the end of March, a Virginia Crowned Pigeon chick burst onto the scene. Well, she pecked her way out slowly and carefully, but her parents couldn't be prouder. This unique species of bird is in a fight to regain numbers, as they are verging on endangered status in their native land of New Guinea due to being hunted for their lovely plumage, their meat, and the pet trade.

So, what is a Virginia Crowned Pigeon? Picture a peacock with the humility and body shape of a pigeon. This unique species of bird sports dark, grey-blue feathers all over with spazzy blue crowns on their heads. This striking feature is accentuated by their candy-red irises.  

victoria crowned pigeon chick

Photo courtesy of the Virginia Zoo

Want some interesting facts about the Victoria Crowned Pigeon? Well, despite their girth (and they've got some girth, growing to the size of a turkey), and earning the label of the largest species of pigeon, they can actually fly. They spend their days on the jungle floors of New Guinea and those of the surrounding islands, foraging for snacks of fruit, seeds, and bugs, but they'll take flight to the safety of the trees should they sense danger or need some beauty rest. These birds also mate for life and both mama and papa care for both the egg and then the hatchling equally.  

Want to see one up close? Well, head over to the Asia Aviaries section at the Virginia Zoo to witness this amazing bird and perhaps meet the newest addition to the family.  

Located at 3500 Granby St. in Norfolk, the Virginia Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $17.95, and children enter for $14.95. Zoo memberships for families start at $129/year. For more info, visit the Virginia Zoo website.