Ducula shutleri Worthy & Burley

Tongan Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula shutleri)

The Tongan Imperial Pigeon is known from subfossil remains that were recovered from late Pleistocene deposits as well as from Holocene deposits on several islands within the Tongan island chain, including ‘Eua, Ha’afeva, Lifuka, and Tongatapu.

The species was for some time thought to possibly have been identical with David’s Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula david Balouet & Olson) or with the Lakeba Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula lakeba Worthy), both likewise extinct, but is now understood as having been a distinct species and was finally described as such in 2020. [1]

This large but still volant pigeon died out soon after the arrival of the first Polynesian settlers at around 2850 BP..



[1] David W. Steadman; Oona M. Takano: A new genus and species of pigeon (Aves, Columbidae) from the Kingdom of Tonga, with an evaluation of hindlimb osteology of columbids from Oceania. Zootaxa 4810(3): 401-420. 2020


edited: 22.08.2022