Turacoena modesta 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Columbiformes Columbidae

Scientific Name: Turacoena modesta
Species Authority: (Temminck, 1835)
Common Name(s):
English Black Cuckoo-dove, Black Cuckoo-Dove, Black Dove
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Identification information: 38.5 cm. Medium-sized, dark, slender dove. Dark bluish-slate, paler on head and underparts and almost black on long wings and tail. Greenish iridescence on crown, nape, neck, breast and upper mantle. Yellow orbital skin. Similar spp. White-throated Pigeon Columba vitiensis metallica is more stocky and shorter-tailed, has red legs, red-and-yellow bill and is highly glossed with purple and green. Voice Six-second, accelerating series of medium-pitched, upslurred, disyllabic hoo-wuk notes.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A. & Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Trainor, C.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Davidson, P., Harding, M., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S., Taylor, J., Tobias, J.
This species is classified as Near Threatened because, although recent surveys in Timor-Leste have shown it to be more abundant than once feared and to inhabit a wider range of habitats, it is still suspected to be declining moderately rapidly owing to hunting and habitat loss.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Near Threatened (NT)
2005 Near Threatened (NT)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Vulnerable (VU)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Turacoena modesta is restricted to Timor-Leste, West Timor and Wetar, Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, where it is generally uncommon or rare. Historical records indicate that it was once fairly common, at least locally on Wetar and in West Timor, even near settlements. A paucity of recent records, despite extensive searching, suggests that a marked decline has occurred in West Timor. However, recent survey work in Timor-Leste revealed it to be frequent in a wide range of habitats, and surveys of Wetar in 2008 showed it to be "widespread and fairly common" at all tropical forest sites (Trainor et al. 2004, 2009).

Countries occurrence:
Indonesia; Timor-Leste
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 31200
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 11-100
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1740
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  Based on recent observations in Timor-Leste, there is no evidence of a decline of more than 30% over ten years (C. Trainor in litt. 2005).
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 1500-7000 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 2 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It inhabits primary and tall secondary monsoon-forest, often where this habitat is drier or more open, and also vine thickets, thickly vegetated gullies and eucalyptus woodland with dense understorey, from sea-level to 1,770 m (Mauro 2003, C. Trainor in litt. 2005). As it has been found in "more or less open areas near villages", it probably has a degree of tolerance to habitat degradation, and in Timor-Leste appears to be more common in patchy landscapes: forest edge, secondary forest, woodland with scattered figs, Eucalyptus savanna or non-Eucalyptus woodlands with tropical forest trees in gullies or on scattered rock outcrops (C. Trainor in litt. 2005). Singles or pairs forage in the lower-middle storey, with groups congregating at fruiting trees (C. Trainor in litt. 2005), and it probably moves seasonally in response to fruiting patterns.

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 5.6
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Loss of monsoon-forest has been severe in its range, with an estimated 50% decline in Timor-Leste's remaining montane forest cover during Indonesian rule (1975-1999). Monsoon forests now cover an estimated 4% of West Timor, scattered in about seven unprotected patches that are continually declining in size owing to excessive grazing and burning. On Wetar, while much forest is inaccessible, that near the coast is under continuing pressure from agriculture and logging. Mining and road building are also potential threats on the island, although their impacts have been limited to date (Trainor et al. 2009). However, habitat loss may not be a severe threat as the species is highly mobile and presumably able to access necessary fruit resources over a large area (C. Trainor in litt. 2005). Pigeons are hunted intensively on Timor, and the species allows close approach and concentrates at fruiting trees, rendering it susceptible to hunters; local villagers have stated that 20-30 birds/day could be shot by focusing on fruiting trees (C. Trainor in litt. 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
Several protected areas have been proposed in West Timor, and one on Wetar. The most important for the species are likely to be Gunung Mutis/Timau, Bipolo and Camplong, on West Timor, and Gunung Arnau on Wetar.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to clarify its current distribution, status, ecological requirements and threats. Propose key sites for establishment as strict protected areas. Support initiatives to establish a protected area encompassing Gunung Mutis and Gunung Timau, West Timor. Initiate conservation awareness programmes to reduce forest loss and hunting.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Turacoena modesta. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22690609A38938345. . Downloaded on 01 December 2015.
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