What is this ‘hot pigeon’? Is it even real?

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Steph, there is an incredibly beautiful pigeon all over my Twitter and it doesn’t look real. Is it real?

Lucy, yes, it is real and also extremely attractive. People are calling it “hot pigeon”.

The soft pastel colours blend their way through a spectrum of Rainbow Paddle Pop, from its dusky lavender beak to its hot-pink tips – the hue of which almost mitigates its disgusting birdy feet. A bright orange breast. Smart lime-green trousers. A blush-rose neck and yellow-tipped olive wings, with indigo accents at the edges.

This is a good bird with large magenta eyes; it is majestic, strong and brave. We do not deserve this bird. We need this bird to be real.

Please tell me some actual information about it.

Sure, sure. The bird pops up on various platforms from time to time as we discover and rediscover the existence of beauty before promptly forgetting about it. Most recently, Twitter user Shelby Lorman went viral for posting a tweet: “Have you ever seen such a beautiful pigeon?”

The tweet was liked by 48,000 people who, evidently, had not.

After a day filled with questions and not a small amount of fawning, another Twitter user, Rosemary Mosco, stepped in to explain: Yes, it is a real bird; this is not a curry situation.

It is called a pink-necked green-pigeon, scientific name Treron vernans, and it is native to south-east Asia. The photo was taken by Chong Lip Mun.

How can it be a pigeon if it is so beautiful? Surely this is a dove.

Great question. It is also a dove.

Mosco, who is writing a book about pigeons, says: “Pigeons and doves belong to the scientific family Columbidae. Within that family, English-speaking folks basically name some species “dove” and some “pigeon” at random. Pigeons = doves. There’s no real taxonomic difference.”

According to ebird.com, which I can only assume is an authority on the subject as I have opened no other tabs, the hot pigeon is a social, tree-dwelling bird which can also be found in “mangroves, open coastal forests, parks, gardens and plantation edges”. It is confined to parts of Thailand and Vietnam, as well as the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Myanmar and Indonesia.

What we’re looking at here is a male of the species as the females are “much plainer” (brutal), but both have “striking black-and-yellow wing feathers and yellow spotting on the undertail coverts”.

Unfortunately its aesthetic splendour is not mirrored in its song: “Occasionally gives strange, alien-sounding coos,” ebird.com writes snidely.

It is very upsetting that this pigeon is so beautiful when the pigeons that haunt my life are resolutely not.

Well, first, your pigeons – “feral pigeons” – are also kind of cool if you just look at them for a minute.

But as Mosco points out, the pink-necked green-pigeon isn’t the only beauty among its species. Will you just look at these:

I feel rude for objectifying a bird.

Wait until you meet the hot duck.

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