Pampusana ferruginea (Forster)

Tanna Ground Dove (Pampusana ferruginea)

The Tanna Ground-Dove was originally known from two specimens, a male and a female collected on the island of Tanna, Vanuatu, which, however, both are now lost.

The species is often thought to have been most closely related to the Santa Cruz Ground Dove (Pampusana sanctaecrucis (Mayr)) from the Santa Cruz Islands, Solomon Islands north of Vanuatu, however, I personally have some doubts and prefer, for geographical reasons, to think that it may have been more closely related to the Friendly Ground Dove from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

All of these Pacific groud dove species are now highly threatened with extinction.


The only ‘remain’ that proves the former existence of the tanna ground Dove is a drawing of the female specimens made by G. Forster in the 18th century.

The local name of this species was recorded as having been mahk.


Depiction: Georg Forster, 1774

(public domain)


edited: 09.03.2020