Spinifex Pigeon: Christmas with a View in Watarrka National Park

Known for its epic views the Northern Territory is a beautiful place to enjoy Christmas, come along on our journey exploring the animals you can find in the outback of Northern Territory Australia!

On the fourth day of Christmas, Norther brought to me a beautiful Spinifex Pigeon.

And the most stunning hike in Watarrka National Park!

Spinifex Pigeon in Watarrka National Park

COMMON NAME: Spinifex Pigeon

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Geophaps plumifera

TYPE: Bird

DIET: Seeds of drought-resistant grasses and herbs.

SIZE: Has a mean body length of 200 – 235mm, and has their wingspan of 300–350 mm.

What does the Spinifex Pigeon look like?

Their most noticeable feature Spinifex Pigeons is their mohawk-like structure.

It gives them a very distinctive look, very stylish too! (cool bird) They have buff and black crescentic bars on the upper parts of the body and wings. Their face has a combination of bright red shades that glow things up. (Striking) These unique Australian birds are just two of the pigeons in Australia that have crests! (Coool!) Along with the crest, these cool birdies have beautiful tail and wing feathers. During courtship, they bow their heads low, fan out their feathers like a fan and bob and shake their bodies, making their feathers shimmer. (just like peacocks do!)

Where Does the Spinifex Pigeon Live?

As the Spinifex Pigeon’s name suggests, these birds are most at home among the spinifex or porcupine grasses that grow in parts of Northern and Central Australia. They make their nests on the ground, sheltered in small shrub, rock or spinifex tussock or a shallow depression in the ground that they sometimes line with some vegetation. (kinda like camping!)

The species lay their eggs in spring and summer or after rain. They only lay two white eggs in the shelter of a spinifex bush. (How clever is that!) The chicks are off and running at 7 to 9 days old, and leave the nest-site at about 11 days after hatching. Wow! They grow up fast!

What does the Spinifex Pigeon eat?

Spinifex Pigeon feeds on various dry seeds of grasses and herbs, especially those of spinifex Triodia. (explains the name!) It also consumes invertebrates and leaves, and it needs to drink water frequently. This is why they like being around waterholes. The Spinifex Pigeon is mainly active in the early morning and the evening, but it drinks at any time. 

Aren’t these beautiful birdies cute! Now that you know ALLLL about them, It’s time to colour it in. Share this with your friends and see who can do the most creative design. Have fun with it and maybe draw a hatching egg in a nest… Wanna feature your creation on our Instagram? Email us [email protected] and we’ll share the most creative design on our Instagram page

Yours in adventure,

Have a Merry Norther Christmas 

Download The Spinifex Pigeon Colouring Page

Christmas – Watarrka

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Now that you know more about the cute Spinifex Pigeons, let’s talk about the stunning Watarrka National Park!

Watarrka National Park 

Famous for the striking ancient red canyon walls that soar 100 meters above Kings Creek known as Kings Canyon. This famous park was named after the First Nations traditional owners of the land of the Matutjara people.

Interested in a First Nations cultural experience? 

How to get to Watarrka National Park

Located southwest of Alice Springs and can be reached via the Stuart Highway, Lasseter Highway and Luritja Road these are sealed roads or via Larapinta Drive through the Tjoritja / West MacDonnell National Park which are both sealed and unsealed roads. Please note that a Mereenie Loop pass is required to travel this route and is available from the Alice Springs Visitor Information Centre and Kings Canyon Resort. You will need a 4WD vehicle to explore this area. Another way to explore it is the Stuart Highway, Ernest Giles Road and Luritja Road.

When is the best time to visit Watarrka National Park?

The best part is that the Park is accessible all year round! The cooler months (April to September) are the best time to explore. Unfortunately overnight camping in tents or campers is not permitted in the National Park but a commercial motel and camping accommodation is available for visitors wishing to stay overnight. Our strong suggestion is to stay at Discovery Kings Canyon. Or to get an experience of the whole area the Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon Camping Safari from Alice Springs (or you could do the option from Uluru) is highly recommended!

Looking for more inspiration to visit Watarrka National Park and the Red Centre?  

One of the most popular experiences is to do a walking tour in this area. For a quick walking tour we recommend the Kings Canyon Guided Rim Walk or if you’re looking for a half-day experience there is an Amazing Kings Canyon: 4-Hours Walking Tour and Hike where you can really develop a deep understanding of the beautiful land that is Kings Canyon. 

We would love your feedback on this page – please comment below if you’ve been to Watarrka National Park or seen a Spinifex Pigeon!

Norther® would like to invite you to explore more about the beauty of Watarrka National Park here. And… as always you can get more inspiration for other National Parks & Destinations to visit by following @northerhq or get your Watarrka National Park daily fix @watarrkanationalpark

*Cover image is by @bblanch.wildlife on Instagram. 



NORTHER ® provides encouragement for travellers to value, enjoy and explore the NT in a one-of-kind way so they can honour and respect culture through care and integrity.

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