Ptilinopus mercierii ssp. mercierii (Des Murs & Prévost)

Red-mustached Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus mercierii ssp. mercierii)

The Red-mustached Fruit-Dove was endemic to the Marquesas, where it was found sympatrically with the White-capped Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus dupetithouarsii (Neboux)).

Two subspecies are recognized, the nominate form, only known from a single specimen from the island of Nuku Hiva, but probably formerly occurring on all the northern islands of the group; and the ssp. tristrami (Salvadori), known only from Hiva Oa, but again very likely formerly found on all the southern islands.

The species reached a size of about 22 cm, the nominate form had a bright pinkish red cap and malar streak, the rest of the head, the neck and the breast were greyish, the upperparts were green, the belly was bright yellow.

The nominate race died out around 1900, the reasons for the extinction of this species are not really known, above all when the survival of the other Marquesan fruit-dove species, the White-capped Fruit-Dove, is considered, which is still fairly common on most islands in the Marquesan Archipelago. [1][2]



[1] Errol Fuller: Extinct Birds. Penguin Books (England) 1987 
[2] David Gibbs, Eustace Barnes, John Cox: Pigeons and Doves, A Guide to the Pigeons and Doves of the World. Pica Press, Sussex 2001  


Depiction from: ‘Charles Lucian Bonaparte: Iconographie des pigeons, non figurés par Mme Knip (Mlle Pauline Decourcelles) dans les deux volumes de MM. Temminck et Florent Prévost. Paris, P. Bertrand 1857-58’  

(public domain)


edited: 16.03.2020