Tag Archives: Columbidae

Pampusana salamonis (Ramsay)

Thick-billed Ground Dove (Pampusana salamonis)

The Thick-billed Ground Dove is a quite unknown species that appears to have been found on at least two islands in the Solomon Islands chain, Makira and Ramos, offshore the northeast coast of Santa Isabela Island, it might have been more widespread in former times, however.

The species is known from only two specimens which date from 1882 and 1927 respectively. 

The Thick-billed Ground Dove was a ground-dwelling bird and probably fell victim to introduced mammal predators like cats and dogs.

***

syn. Alopecoenas salamonis (Ramsay), Gallicolumba salamonis (Ramsay), Phlogaenas salamonis Ramsay

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edited: 09.03.2020

Nesoenas picturata ssp. rostrata (Bonaparte)

Seychelles Turtle Dove (Nesoenas picturata ssp. rostrata)

The Seychelles Turtle Dove is a subspecies of the Madagascar Turtle Dove (Nesoenas picturata (Temminck)); as its name implies, it inhabited to Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean. It is known to have inhabited at least the islands of Cousin and Cousine, Mahé and Praslin, as well as Aride- and Bird Island, where the last pure-bred birds were found.

The form is sometimes considered a full species; it disappeared du to hybridization with (nominate) Madagascar Turtle Doves, that somehow reached the Seychelles, either by themselves or with human aid. No pure-bred birds are known to exist now; however, their genes live on in the turtle dove population that now inhabits the Seychelles.
***

syn. Streptopelia picturata ssp. rostrata (Bonaparte)

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References:

[1] Julian P. Hume: Extinct Birds. 2. Edition. Bloomsbury Natural History 2017

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edited: 07.05.2022

Pampusana nui (Steadman)

Large Polynesian Ground Dove (Pampusana nui)

The Large Polynesian Ground Dove, which is known only from subfossil remains, was a widespread species that occurred on several island groups in central Polynesia including the Cook Islands, the Society Islands and the Marquesas.

The species was sympatric on the Cook-, and Society Islands with the smaller Polynesian Ground Dove (Pampusana erythroptera (Gmelin)) and with the Marquesan Ground Dove (Pampusana rubescens (Vieillot)) on the Marquesas Islands, and very likely with additional, yet extinct species.  

The Large Polynesian Ground Dove, sometimes also named Giant Ground Dove in fact was not truly a giant, yet with a probable size of around 36 cm was still larger than all its Polynesian congeners. [1][2]

***

The species was also thought, based on subfossil remains, to have occurred on the Gambier Islands, these remains, however, were later found out to be assignable to another species, the Henderson Island Archaic Pigeon (Bountyphaps obsoleta Worthy & Wragg). [3][4]

***

syn. Alopecoenas nui (Steadman), Gallicolumba nui Steadman

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References:  

[1] David W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University Of Chicago Press 2006
[2] Jean-Claude Thibault; Alice Cibois: From early Polynesian settlements to present: bird extinctions in the Gambier Islands. Pacific Science 66(3): 1-26. 2011 
[3] Knud A. Jønsson; Martin Irestedt; Rauri C. K. Bowie; Les Christidis; Jon Fieldså: Systematics and biogeography of Indo-Pacific ground-doves. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 59: 538-543. 2011
[4] Stanislas Rigal; Patrick V. Kirch; Trevor H. Worthy: New prehistoric avifaunas from the Gambier Group, French Polynesia. Palaeontologia Electronica 21.3.4A 1-35. 2018

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edited: 16.03.2020

Nesoenas rodericanus (Milne-Edwards)

Rodrigues Turtle Dove (Nesoenas rodericanus)

The Rodrigues Turtle Dove was described in 1874, when it was already extinct; it is known from subfossil remains and from contemporaneous accounts.

The species disappeared sometimes between 1726 and 1761.

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References:

[1] Julian P. Hume: Extinct Birds: Bloomsbury Natural History; 2nd edition 2017

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edited: 07.05.2022

Nesoenas picturata ssp. aldabrana (Sclater)

Amirante Islands Turtle Dove (Nesoenas picturata ssp. aldabrana)

The Amirante Islands are a group of small coral islands in the so-called outher Seychelles southwest of the Seychelles main islands.

These islands were once inhabted by an endemic subspecies of the Madagascar Turtle Dove (Nesoenas picturata (Temminck)), which actually might even warrant species status.

The Amirante Islands Turtle Dove was apparently extirpated by direct hunting, because the birds were seen as a pest; the last individuals were seen in the 1950s.

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Depiction from: ‘P. L. Sclater: Description of a new species of dove from the coralreef of Alabra. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1871: 692-693′

(public domain)

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edited: 07.05.2022

Ducula sp. ‘Erromango’

Erromango Imperial Pigeon (Ducula sp.)

This taxon is known from subfossil remains that were found on the island of Erromango, Vanuatu and apparently cannot be assigned to any of the congeneric forms found on that island today and may thus in fact constitute an extinct species.

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References:  

[1] David W. Steadman: Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University of Chicago Press 2006

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edited: 29.01.2024

Columbidae gen. & sp. ‘Buka 2’

Kilu Ground Pigeon (Columbidae gen. & sp.)

This up to now undescribed species is known exclusively from subfossil remains that were recovered from Holocene deposits in the Kilu Cave on the island of Buka in the northernmost part of the Solomon Islands group.

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References:  

[1] David W. Steadman: Extinction and biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University of Chicago Press 2006

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edited: 19.08.2022

Pampusana sp. ‘Efate’

Efate Ground Dove (Pampusana sp.)

This form is known on the basis of subfossil remains that indicate a bird of similar size to the Friendly Ground Dove (Pampusana stairi (Gray)), a species that inhabits the islnds of western Polynesia.

The Efate Ground Dove was sympatric with the still existing smaller Santa Cruz Ground Dove (Pampusana sanctaecrucis (Mayr)). [1]

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References:  

[1] Trevor H. Worthy; Start Hawkins; Stuart Bedford; Matthew Spriggs: Avifauna from the Teouma Lapita site, Efate Island, Vanuatu, including a new genus and species of megapode. Pacific Science 69(2): 205-254. 2015

Tongoenas burleyi Steadman & Takano

Giant Tongan Pigeon (Tongoenas burleyi)

This very large but still fully volant species is known for quite some time; it is known only on the basis of subfossil bones that were recovered from several sites on some of the Tongan islands, including ‘Eua, Foa, Lifuka, and Tongatapu. The species was finally named in 2020. [1]

In life, this species must have reached a length of more than 50 cm, making it one of the largest pigeons at all, only exceeded in size by the New Guinean crowned pigeons (Goura spp.).

The giant Tongan Pigeon died out shortly after the arrival of the first Polynesian settlers at around 2800 years BP.. [1]

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References:

[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

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edited: 22.08.2022

Ptilinopus rarotongensis ssp. ‘Mangaia’

Mangaia Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus rarotongensis ssp.)

This form is known based on a single subfossil femur that was found in the Te Rua Rere Cave on the island of Mangaia, Cook Islands.

The species still occurs (with two subspecies which may in fact be candidates for splitting) on the islands of ‘Atiu and Rarotonga, both likewise in the Cook archipelago, and may have constituted another distinct, now extinct subspecies. [2]

***

There is yet (of course) an interesting account, which is given by  D. T. Holyoak and J. C. Thibault in 1984.:

P. r. sous-espèce?

… 
Mangaia: un habitant de cette île déclara, en 1973, qu’il connaissaitle «Kukupa» et que cet oiseau habitait seulement les bois de la région corallienne. Il sut imiter l’appel et décrivit le nid. Toutefois, Ducula pacifica, qui est également inconnue dans cette île, pourrait être l’oiseau décrit.
” [1]

translation:

P. r. subspecies?


Mangaia: a resident of this island declared, in 1973, that he knew «Kukupa» and that this bird lived only in the woods of the coral region. He knew how to imitate the call and described the nest. However, Ducula pacifica, which is also unknown on this island, could be the described bird.

Kukupa is the local name for the Lilac-crowned Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus rarotongensis Hartlaub & Finsch), and (most if not all) Polynesians make a clear distinction between the smaller green fruit-doves (Ptilinopus spp.) and the larger imperial pigeons (Ducula spp.), which on the Cook Islands are called rupe.

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References:

[1] D. T. Holyoak; J.-C. Thibault: Contribution à l’étude des oiseaux de Polynésie orientale. Mémoires du Muséum national d’histoire naturelle 127(1): 1-209. 1984
[2] David W. Steadman: Fossil birds from Mangaia, southern Cook Islands. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 105(2): 58-66. 1985

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edited: 09.03.2020

Bountyphaps obsoleta Worthy & Wragg

Henderson Island Archaic Pigeon (Bountyphaps obsoleta)

This large columbiform was described in 2008 based on subfossil bone material that had been collected from cave deposits on Henderson Island in the Pitcairn Islands.

The species was hunted by the Polynesian settlers and birds were also brought (dead or alive?) to the Gambier Islands, where their subfossil remains were found in archaeological sites. [1]

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References:

[1] Stanislas Rigal; Patrick V. Kirch; Trevor H. Worthy: New prehistoric avifaunas from the Gambier Group, French Polynesia. Palaeontologia Electronica 21.3.4A 1-35. 2018

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edited: 25.04.2022

Ptilinopus rarotongensis ssp. ‘Ma’uke’

Mauke Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus rarotongensis ssp.)

There is an interesting account, which is given by D. T. Holyoak and J. C. Thibault in 1984.:

P. r. sous-espèce?

Mauke: il semble qu’un ptilope ait habité l’île. L’Exp. de la «Blonde» rapportait que deux sortes de pigeons, dont un pigeon frugivore vert, habitaient Mauiki en 1825. Savage (1962) donne une information obtenue avant 1940; d’après la population locale le «Kukupa… se rencontre en abondance dans les îles de Mauke et Atiu». En 1973, il ne fut pas trouvé au cours d’une brève visite; les habitants interrogés à ce sujet donnèrent des informations contradictoires.
….
” [1]

translation:

P. r. subspecies?

Mauke: it seems that a Ptilinopus inhabited the island. The Exp. de la “Blonde” reported that two kinds of pigeons, including a green frugivorous pigeon, inhabited Mauiki in 1825. Savage (1962) gives information obtained before 1940; local people say “Kukupa … occurs in abundance on the islands of Mauke and Atiu”. In 1973 it was not found during a brief visit; the inhabitants questioned on this subject gave contradictory information.
….

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References:

[1] D. T. Holyoak; J.-C. Thibault: Contribution à l’étude des oiseaux de Polynésie orientale. Mémoires du Muséum national d’histoire naturelle 127(1): 1-209. 1984

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edited: 09.03.2020

Ptilinopus mercierii ssp. tristrami (Salvadori)

Hiva Oa Red-mustached Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus mercierii ssp. tristrami 

The Hiva Oa Red-mustached Fruit-Dove is known only from the island of Hiva Oa, Marquesas, but might indeed have been more widespread in former times.   

This form, which differs from the nominate by the narrow yellow band below its pink head-cap, is known from several specimens and some rather scarce accounts like the following by the American ornithologist Rollo H. Beck in 1921.:

January 24

I went up onto the plateau and on up to Mt. Ootua several miles to the eastward, and around its base saw several red-capped doves of which three were secured. they were as reported, found near the heads of canyons and usually seen when flying to or from the canyon where the stream of water was flowing. As I stood on the top of the ridge with a brisk breeze sweeping over, one flew back and forth to windward of me several times looking at me. Their call notes did not seem to have the half douen rapid “Coos” at the end of the cooing as does the white-crowned and the Tahitian species. … The red-crown would come to my calling occasionally, but in the thick forest would fly past or light unseen. No white-crowns were seen where the reds were found, but they occurred just below them.” [1]

The white-capped Fruit-Dove (Ptilnopus dupetithouarsii (Neboux) is still found on most of the Marquesan Islands, it is thus somewhat strange that the Rad-capped Fruit-Dove is now extinct. [2]

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References:  

[1] Whitney South Sea Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History. Extracts from the journal of Rollo H. Beck. Vol. 1, Sept 1920 – June 1923
[2] David Gibbs, Eustace Barnes, John Cox: Pigeons and Doves, A Guide to the Pigeons and Doves of the World. Pica Press, Sussex 2001  

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Photo: Alexander Lang

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edited: 16.03.2020

Ducula tihonireasini Rigal, Kirch & Worthy

Mangarevan Imperial Pigeon (Ducula tihonireasini)

This species was already known from subfossil remains for several years when it was described in 2018.

The Mangarevan Imperial Pigeon apparently was still alive when the first Europeans set foot on the Gambier Islands in the 1820s.:  

Of the feathered tribe, oceanic bird form the greater part; but even these are rare compared with the numbers that usually frequent the islands of the Pacific, arising, no doubt, from the Gambier Islands being inhabited. The whole consist of three kinds of tern, the white, black, and slate-coloured – of which the first are most numerous, and the last very scarce; together with a species of procellaria, the white heron, and the tropic and egg birds. Those frequent the shore are a kind of pharmatopus, curlew, charadrine, and totanus; and the woods, the wood-pigeon, and a species of turdus, somewhat resembling a thrush in plumage, but smaller, possessing a similar though less harmonious note.” [1]

It died out sometimes later.

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References:

[1] Narrative of a voyage to the Pacific and Beering’s Strait, to co-operate with the polar expeditions : performed in His Majesty’s ship Blossom, under the command of Captain F. W. Beechey in the years 1825, 26, 27, 28. London: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley 1831
[2] Stanislas Rigal; Patrick V. Kirch; Trevor H. Worthy: New prehistoric avifaunas from the Gambier Group, French Polynesia. Palaeontologia Electronica 21.3.4A 1-35. 2018

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edited: 04.05.2021

Nesoenas cicur Hume

Mauritius Turtle Dove (Nesoenas cicur)

The Mauritius Turtle Dove was described based on subfossil bones that were recovered from deposits on the island of Mauritius, where it lived sympatrically with the Mauritius Pink Pigeon (Nesoenas mayeri (Prevost)).

This species had rather robust legs and small wings and had a rather terrestrial lifestyle. [1]

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References:

[1] Julian P. Hume: Extinct Birds: Bloomsbury Natural History; 2nd edition 2017

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edited: 07.05.2022

cf. Ducula sp. ‚Rapa‘

Large Rapa Pigeon (cf. Ducula sp.)

This species is known from several subfossil remains that were recovered from deposits on the island of Rapa, Austral Islands. 

These remains come from a larger species, like a larger Ducula sp., and shows some indications of reduced powers of flight or even flightlessness, which is now known from several extirpated Polynesian pigeon species. [1]

***

The sole surviving pigeon species on the island of Rapa today is the Rapa Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus huttoni Finsch), which itself is somewhat aberrant and unusual large for a member of its genus.

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References:

[1] J. D. Tennyson; Atholl Anderson: Bird, reptile and mammal remains from archaeological sites on Rapa Island. In: Atholl Anderson; Douglas J. Kennett: Taking the High Ground; The archaeology of Rapa, a fortified island in remote East Polynesia. In: Terra Australis 37. 105-114. Canberra, ANU E Press 2012

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edited: 08.02.2020

Columba vitiensis ssp. godmanae (Mathews)

Lord Howe White-throated Pigeon (Columba vitiensis ssp. godmanae)

Described in 1915, this species is still exclusively known by some contemporaneous accounts and depictions made in the early 1800s.

This beautiful bird was restricted to Lord Howe island and was one of the first bird forms from that island to go extinct; it was actually hunted (and eaten) to extinction already by the first few European settlers on the island.

The Lord Howe White-throated Pigeon is now usually considered a subspecies of the White-throated Pigeon (Columba vitiensis Qouy & Gaimard) which is distributed from the Philippines to eastern Indonesia, parts of Melanesia to westernmost Polynesia; however, the species is a candidate for splitting, and some forms should rather be regarded as distinct species, including the extinct one from Lord Howe Island.

The pigeons were last recorded in 1853.

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Depiction from an album of watercolor drawings of Australian natural history owned by a man named Robert Anderson Seton; ca. 1800

(public domain)

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edited: 19.08.2022

Nesoenas duboisi Rothschild

Reunion Pink Pigeon (Nesoenas duboisi)

This species was described in 1907, it is known from at least one contemporaneous account and from subfossil bones.

The species was somewhat similar to the Mauritius Pink Pigeon (Nesoenas mayeri (Prevost)) (see photo below) that is still found on the island of Mauritius.

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References:

[1] Julian P. Hume: Extinct Birds: Bloomsbury Natural History; 2nd edition 2017

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Mauritius Pink Pigeon (Nesoenas mayeri)

Photo: Dick Daniels

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

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edited: 07.05.2022

Pampusana johannae ssp. admiralitatis (Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert)

Admiralty Islands Bronze Ground Dove (Pampusana johannae ssp. admiralitatis)

The Admiralty Islands Bronze Ground Dove is a subspecies of the Eastern Ground Dove (Pampusana johannae (P. L. Sclater)) restricted to the Admiralty Islands north of eastern Papua New Guinea; it is sometimes assigned as a subspecies to the Western Bronze Ground Dove (Pampusana beccarii (Salvadori)) (see depiction).

This form is thought to be extinct.

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Solomon Bronze Ground-Dove (Pampusana johannae ssp. solomonensis (Ogilvie-Grant)); below, together with Western Bronze Ground Dove (Pampusana beccarii (Salvadori)); above 

Depiction from: Catalogue of the birds in the British Museum. London 21. 1893

(public domain)

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edited: 10.11.2020

Pampusana sp. ‘Mariana Islands’

Large Mariana Islands Ground Dove (Pampusana sp.)

The Large Mariana Islands Ground Dove is known so far only from subfossil remains that were recovered from sites on the island of Rota, Mariana Islands.

The species was formerly sympatric with the congeneric White-throated Ground Dove (Pampusana xanthonura (Temminck)), which is still alive, but was apparently larger. [1]

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References:  

[1] David W. Steadman: Extinct and extirpated birds from Rota, Mariana Islands. Micronesia 25(1): 71-84. 1992

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edited: 09.03.2020

Didunculus placopedetes Steadman

Tongan Tooth-billed Pigeon (Didunculus placopedetes)

The Tongan Tooth-billed Pigeon was described in 2006 based on subfossil remains that were found on several islands within the Tongan island chain, including the islands of ‘Eua, Ha’afeva, Ha’ano, Lifuka, Tongatapu, and ‘Uiha.

The species was larger than the closely related and now also almost extinct Tooth-billed Pigeon (Didunculus strigirostris (Jardine)) (see depiction) that is just holding on at least on island of Western Samoa.

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Depiction from: John Gould. The birds of Australia. London: printed by R. and J. E. Taylor; pub. by the author 1840-48

(public domain)

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References:

[1] D. W. Steadman: An extinct species of tooth-billed pigeon (Didunculus) from the Kingdom of Tonga, and the concept of endemism in insular landbirds. Journal of Zoology 268(3): 233-241. 2006

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edited: 20.08.2022

Pampusana sp. ‘Tubuai’

Tubuai Ground Dove (Pampusana sp.)  

This form is known from subfossil remains that were recovered from archaeological deposits on the island of Taubuai, Austral Islands. [1]

The Tubuai Ground Dove may be identical with one of the congeneric forms that had been found on the island of Rurutu, also in the Austral archipelago.

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References:  

[1] Trevor H. Worthy; Robert Bollt: Prehistoric birds and bats from the Atihara Site, Tubuai, Austral Islands, East Polynesia. Pacific Science 65(1): 69-85. 2011

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edited: 09.03.2020

Ptilinopus sp. ‘Gambier Islands’

Gambier Islands Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus sp.)

The Atoll Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus coralensis Peale) is distributed all over the Tuamotu Archipelago and was formerly also believed to have occurred on the Gambier Islands, however, no such specimen appears to have ever been collected and thus the former occurence of fruit-doves on these islands is actually known only from accounts. [1][2][3]

There are, however, at least three subfssil bones found on the island of Taravai, the second largest of the Gambier Islands, that can be assigned to the genus Ptilinopus, but apparently not to the Atoll Fruit-Dove. [2]

***

The Atoll Fruit-Dove is actually a species that appears to be very well adapted to the low coral atolls it is inhabiting, thus the form that once occurred on the Gambier Islands most likely was a distinct one; its native name is given as having been kuku. [2]

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References:

[1] David Gibbs, Eustace Barnes, John Cox: Pigeons and Doves, A Guide to the Pigeons and Doves of the World. Pica Press, Sussex 2001
[2] Jean-Claude Thibault; Alice Cibois: From early Polynesian settlement to the present: bird extinctions in the Gambier Islands. Pacific Science 66(3): 271-281. 2012
[3] Stanislas Rigal; Patrick V. Kirch; Trevor H. Worthy: New prehistoric avifaunas from the Gambier Group, French Polynesia. Palaeontologia Electronica 21.3.4A 1-35. 2018

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edited: 17.03.2020

Pampusana jobiensis ssp. chalconotus (Mayr)

Vella Lavella White-breasted Ground Dove (Pampusana jobiensis ssp. chalconotus)

The Vella Lavella White-bibbed Ground Dove is a subspecies of the White-breasted Ground Dove (Pampusana jobiensis (A. B. Meyer)) that probably is rather treated as a full species.

The form is apparently known from only four specimens, two juvenile birds, a probably also not fully-grown female and a male.

***

The Vella Lavella White-breasted Ground Dove is officially still extant, however, as far as I could find out, the species was last seen in the 1940s, no sightings did occur since then and it is quite likely extinct.

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edited: 09.03.2020 

Pampusana sp. 2 ‘Rurutu’

Rurutu Ground Dove (Pampusana sp.)  

This is another species from the genus Pampusana (formerly Alopecoenas) that is known from subfossil remains found on the island of Rurutu, Austral Islands. [1]

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References:  

[1] David W. Steadman; Robert Bollt: Prehistoric Birds from Rurutu, Austral Islands, East Polynesia. Pacific Science 64(2): 315-325. 2010

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edited: 09.03.2020

Columbidae gen. & sp. ‘Buka 1’

Small-winged Ground Pigeon (Columbidae gen. & sp.)

This species, which hasn’t yet been described, is known only from subfossil remains that were recovered from archeological sites on the island of Buka in the northernmost part of the Solomon Islands group.

The species very likely was flightless and was probably among the first bird species to be eradicated by the first human settlers on the island.

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References:  

[1] David W. Steadman: Extinction and biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University of Chicago Press 2006

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edited: 19.08.2022

Ptilinopus sp. ‘Tubuai’

Tubuai Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus sp.)

The Tubuai Fruit-Dove is known from subfossil remains that were recovered from a archaeological site on the island of Tubuai, Austral Islands.

These remains differ significantly from the bones of its geographically nearest congeners, the Rapa Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus huttoni Finsch) from Rapa, Austral Islands, and the Lilac-crowned Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus rarotongensis Hartlaub & Finsch) from Rarotonga, Cook islands.

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References:

[1] Trevor H. Worthy; Robert Bollt: Prehistoric birds and bats from the Atihara Site, Tubuai, Austral Islands, East Polynesia. Pacific Science 65(1): 69-85. 2011

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edited: 29.05.2019

Hemiphaga spadicea (Latham)

Norfolk Island Pigeon (Hemiphaga spadicea)

The Norfolk Island Pigeon is still often regarded to as a subspecies of the New Zealand Pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae (Gmelin)) but clearly constitutes a distinct species.

The species reached a size of 50 cm and differed from the New Zealand Pigeon mainly by the coloration of its wings, which were grey instead of green.

The Norfolk Island Pigeon was apparently last recorded in 1838 and appears to have been gone just by one year later, the reasons for its extinction are overhunting but also predation by introduced mammals, especially cats.

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Depiction from: ‘Lionel Walter Rothschild: Extinct birds: an attempt to unite in one volume a short account of those birds which have become extinct in historical times: that is, within the last six or seven hundred years: to which are added a few which still exist, but are on the verge of extinction. London: Hutchinson & Co. 1907’

(public domain)

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edited: 29.05.2019

Ptilinopus sp. ‘Lakeba’

Lakeba Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus sp.)

The Lakeba Fruit-Dove is known only from subfossil remains that were recovered from Archaeological sites on the island of Lakeba in the Lau Archipelago in eastern Fiji.

The remains cannot be assigned to any of the other fruit-dove species known from the Fijian Islands and thus most likely represents a distinct species. [1]

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References:

[1] D. W. Steadman; J. Franklin: A preliminary survey of landbirds on Lakeba, Lau Group, Fiji. Emu 100(3): 227-235. 2000

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edited: 29.05.2019

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]

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References:

[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  

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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)

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edited: 16.03.2020

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..

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References:

[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

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edited: 22.08.2022

Ducula carola ssp. nigrorum (Whitehead)

Black-breasted imperial-Pigeon (Ducula carola ssp. nigrorum)

The Black-breasted imperial-Pigeon was described in 1897, it apparently is, or was endemic the the islands of Negros and Siquijor, Philippine Islands

The species reached a size of about 33 cm.

The form was last recorded in the 1950s and, given the state of the Philippine’s natural areas, it very likely is extinct.

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edited: 14.05.2019

Columba sp. ‘Azores’

Azores Mountain Pigeon (Columba sp.)

Today the Azores Islands harbor a single native (actually even endemic) (sub)species of pigeon, the Azores Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus ssp. azorica (Tschusi)), however, there was once at least one more species.

This now lost pigeon taxon, however, is known only from a single account in a manuscript from the late 16th century, namely from “Saudades da Terra” written between 1586 and 1590 by a father Gaspar Frutuoso.:

Posto que muitas aves vieram aqui de fora a esta terra, nela se acharam algumas maneirasde pombos, como naturais dela, uns pretos que chamavam pombos da serra, que matavam àstrochadas com paus e aguilhadas e com lanças, nos paus e nas árvores, tão tolos eram, pelapouca comunicação da gente, que tudo esperavam; estes eram da terra. Outros houvecinzentos, que chamavam torcazes, que eu cuido serem naturais, mas alguns dizem quevieram depois aqui de fora, porque dantes os não havia, e multiplicaram tanto que agora há aímuitos, nas Furnas e na serra sobre a Povoação Velha. E há tão grande número deles naAchada e Fenais da Maia, que cobrem as terras como entra Março, e às vezes fazem perdanas novidades de trigo e linho, derribando as paveias no campo. Estes sempre foram maisrecatados e dificultosos de caçar e tomar; mas os pretos, indo-os a caçar, atirando-lhe do pé daárvore com a besta a um, derribando aquele, os outros que na árvore estavam, olhando abaixopara aquele que caía, se deixavam estar quedos e tornando a atirar a outros e a derribá-losmortos, os que ficavam em cima da árvore faziam o mesmo, deixando-se estar tolamente, atéque o besteiro matava deles quantos queria.

[My humble] Translation:

Although many birds came to this land from the outside, some kinds of pigeons were found as natives, some black ones that they called pigeons of the mountains, that they killed with sticks and with spears, on the poles and in the trees, so foolish they were, because they had little knowledge of men, that they wait for everything; these ones were from this land. Others ashy-grey, they called them wood pigeons, which I think to be natural, but some say they came later here from outside, because before there were no, and multiplied so much that now there are fine, at Furnas and the mountains above Povoação Velha [the village Povoação?]. And there are so many of them at Achada and Fenais da Maia, they cover the land like a windy weather, and sometimes they make losses of wheat and flax, breaking down the sheafs in the field. These have always been less reckless and difficult to hunt and to take; but the blacks were easy to hunt, shooting them from the foot of the tree with the crossbow, and knocking down one, the others stayed in the tree, looking down at the one who fell, kept still and going on shooting others those who stood on the tree did the same, remaining there foolishly, till the crossbowman would slay of them as many as he wanted.

***

An interesting study from 2011 showed that the Azores Wood Pigeon is not a monophyletic species but in fact is a hybrid population of the nominate race of the European Wood Pigeon and another species, the extinct Azores Mountain Pigeon. The author of the study, however, not knowing this 16th century account, thinks that this may have been the Dark-tailed Laurel Pigeon (Columba bollii Godman) from the Canary Islands or the Madeiran Laurel Pigeon (Columba trocaz Heineken). [1]

Apparently Wood Pigeons only begun to settle the Azores sometimes during the 16th century, they soon multiplied and took over the islands, crossing with the last remaining endemic pigeons and finally hybridize them into extinction. But at least some of the genes of the extinct endemic pigeon species still live on in the Azores Wood Pigeons of today.

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References:

[1] Ana Catarina Gonçalves Dourado: Phylogeny and phylogeography of Atlantic Islands’ Columba species. Dissertation, Universidade de Lisboa 2011

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edited: 12.01.2019

Ducula lakeba Worthy

Lakeba Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula lakeba)

The Lakeba Imperial-Pigeon was described based on subfossil bones that had been discovered on the island of Lakeba, Fiji.

The species was larger than any living species of its genus and had somewhat elongated tarsometatarsi, which might indicate that this was rather a ground-dwelling bird, it was, however, not flightless. [1]

***

This- or a closely and similar species is also known from subfossil remains found on the island of Viti Levu, Fiji. [1]

*********************

References:

[1] T. H. Worthy: A giant flightless pigeon gen. et sp. nov. and a new species of Ducula (Aves: Columbidae), from Quaternary deposits in Fiji. Journal of the royal Society of new Zealand 31(4): 763-794. 2001

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edited: 14.05.2019

Gallicolumba luzonica ssp. rubiventris Gonzales

Catanduanes Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba luzonica ssp. rubiventris)

This subspecies of the Luzon Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba luzonica (Scopoli)) (see photo) was described in 1979, it is endemic to the island of Catanduanes in the northeastern Philippines.

The Catanduanes Bleeding-heart was apparently seen only once in 1971, when the only existing type specimen was collected, it has not been found since, except for an unconfirmed sigting in 2008, and may now be extinct.

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Luzon Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba luzonica); nominate form

Photo: Kao-Tai

(public domain)

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edited: 28.05.2019

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.

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Depiction: Georg Forster, 1774

(public domain)

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edited: 09.03.2020

Pampusana sp. 1 ‘Rurutu’

Rurutu Ground Dove (Pampusana sp.)  

This up to now undescribed ground dove species is known exclusively from subfossil remains that were found on the island of Rurutu, Austral Islands.

The species shared its home island with another congeneric species. [1]

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References:  

[1] David W. Steadman; Robert Bollt: Prehistoric Birds from Rurutu, Austral Islands, East Polynesia. Pacific Science 64(2): 315-325. 2010

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edited: 09.03.2020

Macropygia arevarevauupa Steadman

Society Islands Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia arevarevauupa)

The Society Islands Cuckoo-Dove is known only from a single subfossil tibiotarsus that was recovered from the archaeological deposits at Fa’ahia on the island of Huahine, Society Islands.

The species was probably distributed all over the Society Islands and maybe beyond, it appears to have been a terrestrial bird and was obviouslyly extirpated shortly after the arrival of the first Polynesians.

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edited: 29.05.2019

Ptilinopus hernsheimi ssp. marshallianus Peters & Griscom

Ebon Purple-capped Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus hernsheimi ssp. marshallianus)

This somewhat enigmatic form is known only from a single specimen, originally conserved in spirit, which was collected in the year 1859, obviously on the Ebon Atoll, Marshall Islands.

The bird was originally described as a distinct species, but was later assigned as a subspecies to the Purple-capped Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus porphyraceus Temminck), whose subspecies again were split off as distinct species in 2014, The Samoan Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus fasciatus Peale), The Kosrae Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus hernsheimi) and the Pohnpei Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus ponapensis Finsch).

The Ebon Purple-capped Fruit-Dove had a size of about 23 cm, it was quite similar to the Kosrae Fruit-Dove but is said to have had the vent and the undertail coverts orange rather than yellow.

~~~

The Ebon Purple-capped Fruit-Dove is currently treated as being synonymous to the Kosrae Fruit-Dove, however, in my opinion, and seen in a geographical context, it appears indeed to be quite senseful to treat this form as a distinct taxon.

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References:

[1] S. Dillon Ripley; Hugh Birckhead: Birds collected during the Whitney South Sea Expedition. 51, On the fruit pigeons of the Ptilinopus purpuratus group. American Museum Novitates 1192. 1942
[2] Dirk H. R. Spennemann; Hemley Benjamin: Notes on the avifauna of Ebon Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands: observations gathered during a brief field trip, 17-22 June 1992, with some comments on the Marshallese nomenclature of birds. Majuro Atoll: Republic of the Marshall Islands, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Historic Preservation Office 1992
[3] David Gibbs, Eustace Barnes, John Cox: Pigeons and Doves, A Guide to the Pigeons and Doves of the World. Pica Press, Sussex 2001
[4] Dirk H. R. Spennemann: Extinctions and extirpations in Marshall Islands avifauna since European contact-a review of historic evidence. Micronesica 38(2): 253–266. 2006
[5] J. del Hoyo; N. J. Collar; D. A. Christie; A. Elliott; L. D. C. Fishpool: HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International 2014

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edited: 23.09.2017

Alectroenas sp. ‘Farquhar Islands’

Farquhar Islands Blue Pigeon (Alectroenas sp.)

A population of some sort of blue pigeons, which are otherwise known from several islands and island groups within the Indian Ocean, may once have existed on the Farquhar Islands, a group of three smaller atolls that belong to the outer islands of the Seychelles; this can be taken from an old account.:

Jean de Nova i. e. Farquhar and Providence … like the Amirates, Coetivy and Alphonse are the resort of Millions of Birds of which, the Frigate Bird, the Fou, a beautiful small white gull, a variety of various coloured Gannet, and the Tropic Bird are the principle: In S. Pierre and Providence a species of small blue pigeon are in great abundance, and so seldom disturbed that they do not fly at man’s approach, but are knock’d down with Sticks, we found them excessively good eating, these birds build and nest on the Mapou tree and other Dwarf trees which cover the surface of the islands …” [1]

***

These birds may have been identical to the Seychelles Blue Pigeon (Alectroenas pulcherrimus (Scopoli)) (see photo), or, probably more likely, might have represented a distinct taxon.

*********************

References:

[1] D. R. Stoddart; C. W. Benson: An old record of a blue pigeon Alectroenas species and sea-birds on Farquhar and Providence. Atoll Research Bulletin 136: 35-36. 1970

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Seychelles Blue Pigeon (Alectroenas pulcherrimus)

Photo: Adrian Scottow

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

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edited: 10.08.2022

Columba melitensis Lydekker

Malta Pigeon (Columba melitensis)

The Malta Pigeon was described in 1891, it is known exclusively from fossil bones that were excavated from depostits in the Ghar Dalam Cave (and probably other caves) on the island of Malta.

The species was obviously somewhat similar to the extant Rock Dove (Columba livia Gmelin), but apparently slightly smaller.

The bones can be dated to an age of about 10000 years, making this species a case of a Pleistocene/Holocene borderline extinction. 

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edited: 13.01.2019

Ducula david Balouet & Olson

David’s Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula david)

This species was described in 1987 from subfossil remains that were found on the island of ‘Uvea, Wallis & Futuna.

David’s Imperial-Pigeon was a large pigeon, about the size of the Nuku Hiva Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula galeata (Bonaparte)) from the Marquesas, a species that reaches a size of more than 55 cm. [1]

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References:

[1] Jean Christophe Balouet; Storrs L. Olson: A new extinct species of giant pigeon (Columbidae: Ducula) from archaeological deposits on Wallis (Uvea) Island, South Pacific. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 100(4): 769-775. 1987

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edited: 14.05.2019

Ducula sp. ‘Viti Levu’

Viti Levu Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula sp.)

The Viti Levu Imperial-Pigeon is an undescribed species that is known only from subfossil remains that were recovered from the island of Viti Levu, Fiji.

The species is said to have been similar in size to the Lakeba Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula lakeba Worthy) and both may in fact have been identical to each other. [1]

*********************

References:

[1] T. H. Worthy: A giant flightless pigeon gen. et sp. nov. and a new species of Ducula (Aves: Columbidae), from Quaternary deposits in Fiji. Journal of the royal Society of new Zealand 31(4): 763-794. 2001

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edited: 14.05.2019

Geotrygon larva (Wetmore)

Puerto Rican Quail-Dove (Geotrygon larva)

The Puerto Rican Quail-Dove was described in 1920 based on subfossil remains found in the Cueva Clava on the island of Puerto Rico in the Greater Antilles.

The species was closely related to the Grey-fronted Quail-Dove (Geotrygon caniceps (Gundlach)) and the White-fronted Quail-Dove (Geotrygon leucometopia (Chapman)), which today inhabiting the neighboring islands of Cuba and Hispaniola respectively.

The Puerto Rican Quail-Dove very likely disappeared soon after the arrival of the first human settlers on the island.

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edited: 04.05.2019

Caloenas canacorum Balouet & Olson

Kanaka Pigeon (Caloenas canacorum)

The Kanaka Pigeon was described in 1989, it is known from remains of Holocene age that were found on Grande Terre, New Caledonia as well as on the small island of Lifuka, Tonga.

The species was larger than its next living relative, the Nicobar Pigeon (Caloenas nicobarica L.), otherwise both species apparently shared a similar lifestyle, wandering over large distances and breeding on small, predator-free islands.

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edited: 29.05.2019

Columba versicolor Kittlitz

Bonin Wood Pigeon (Columba versicolor)

The Bonin Wood Pigeon is known only from four specimens, which had been collected on two of the Ogasawara Islands, namely Chichijima and Nakodojima, however, it may formerly of course have occurred on other islands of the archipelago as well.

Friedrich Heinrich von Kittlitz, the discoverer of this spescies, writes in his work ‘Kupfertafeln zur Naturgeschichte der Vögel’ about this bird:

“I saw it [Columba janthina] often on the island group of Boninsima, here it lives with Fig.2. (C. versicolor mihi) ,which, as a species, is visibly different albeit very similar to it, but thereby occurring much more scarcer. In al sexual- and age disparities the difference of both in colour and size is noticeable, in food and lifestyle they are incidentally closely related. They survive singly or pairwise, and readily feed, amongst other things, fruits of the local fan palm.”

The Bonin Wood Pigeon, whose Japanes name is Ogasawara-Karasubato, reached a body length of 45 cm.

The species disappeared sometimes after 1889, an exact extinction date is not known.

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References:

[1] Friedrich Heinrich von Kittlitz: Kupfertafeln zur Naturgeschichte der Vögel. Frankfurt am Main: Johann David Sauerländer 1832-1833
[2] Dieter Luther: Die ausgestorbenen Vögel der Welt. Westarp Wissenschaften 1986
[3] Errol Fuller: Extinct Birds. Penguin Books (England) 1987
[4] David Gibbs, Eustace Barnes, John Cox: Pigeons and Doves, A Guide to the Pigeons and Doves of the World. Pica Press, Sussex 2001

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Depiction from: ‘Friedrich Heinrich von Kittlitz: Kupfertafeln zur Naturgeschichte der Vögel. Frankfurt am Main: Johann David Sauerländer 1832-1833’

(public domain)

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edited: 30.07.2011

Pampusana leonpascoi (Worthy & Wragg)

Henderson Island Ground Dove (Pampusana leonpascoi)

The Henderson Island Ground Dove was described in 2003, it was endemic to Henderson Island, Pitcairn Islands.

The species is known exclusively from subfssil remains which indicated that it was a ground-dwelling, flightless bird, it was apparently extirpated by Polynesian settlers who temporarely inhabited Henderson Island.

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edited: 09.03.2020

Ducula harrisoni Wragg & Worthy

Henderson Island Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula harrisoni)

This species was described in 2006, it is known from subfossil remains recovered from Henderson Island, Pitcairn Islands, which originally were thought to originate from two different species.

The Henderson Island Imperial-Pigeon was larger than all living members of its genus, it had enlarged leg- and reduced wing elements, so was on its way to become flightless.

The species was apparently among the first birds from Henderson Island to become extinct due to hunting by Polynesian settlers.

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edited: 14.05.2019