Kakadu National Park

The partridge pigeon, known as ‘rakul’ in some local languages, is one of Kakadu’s threatened species.

These pigeons are only found in Australia’s Top End, and Kakadu is one of their major strongholds.

What it looks like

The partridge pigeon is a medium-sized ground-dwelling pigeon. It is a grey-brown colour with white-edged wings and patches of bare red skin around the eyes.

Where to see it

The partridge pigeon can often be spotted on the lawns around the Bowali Visitor Centre and Jabiru. It is frequently seen walking across roads and is quite common in Kakadu’s woodlands.


Partridge pigeons build their nests in areas of dense grass in early yekke (May). However, they usually forage in clear burnt patches, making them easy targets for feral cats.

These birds rarely fly. When threatened they tend to freeze, waiting until the very last minute to take off in a flurry. You may see this behaviour if you come across the partridge pigeon wandering around Bowali Visitor Centre or Jabiru.

Other names

  • Scientific name: Geophaps smithii smithii