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Alopecoenas rubescens 

Scope: Global
Status_ne_offStatus_dd_offStatus_lc_offStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_onStatus_en_offStatus_cr_offStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Columbiformes Columbidae

Scientific Name: Alopecoenas rubescens
Species Authority: (Vieillot, 1818)
Common Name(s):
English Marquesas Ground-dove, Marquesan Ground-Dove, Marquesan Ground Dove
Synonym(s):
Gallicolumba rubescens (Vieillot, 1818)
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.
Taxonomic Notes: Alopecoenas rubescens (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Gallicolumba.
Identification information: 20 cm. Very tame, small, ground-dwelling dove. Mostly black body with highly variable patches of white in wings and at base of tail. Reddish-purple scapulars, upper back, and shoulders. Male has pearly-grey head and chest, darker on nape, crown, and hindneck, female has dark sooty-grey head and chest. Voice Raspy snarl.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A. & Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Gouni, A. & Raust, P.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Derhé, M., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Pilgrim, J. & Stattersfield, A.
Justification:
This ground-dove is among the least studied of the Polynesian columbids. This species qualifies as Vulnerable as it has a very small range, restricted to two small islands where its population is at risk from the introduction of predators, especially cats. Should the population be found to be decreasing, the species would warrant uplisting to a higher threat category.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Alopecoenas rubescens is restricted to two uninhabited and cat-free islets in the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia. On Hatuta`a, the population was estimated at c.225 birds in 1975 and although it was thought to be similar in 1987, in 2007 it was estimated at c.1,000 individuals, this is unlikely to be a genuine increase, but is instead thought to be a result of more accurate survey methods (Thibault 1988, P. Raust in litt. 2007, A. Gouni in litt. 2007). On Fatu Huku, the population was estimated at 10-100 in the 1990s, and it was thought to be similar in 2002 (Seitre and Seitre 1991, A. Gouni in litt. 2007) and in 2011, when six birds were observed on the island (Butaud 2011). It probably formerly occurred on Nuku Hiva, where the type-specimen is reputed to have been collected, and subfossils are known from three other islets, suggesting that it was originally distributed throughout the entire group (Steadman 1989).

Countries occurrence:
Native:
French Polynesia
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:10
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:2Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Better survey methods in 2007 lead to an estimate of c.1,000 mature individuals on Hatuta'a; it is thought that less than 100 persist on Fatu Huku. This estimate equates to c.1,500 individuals in total.

Trend Justification:  On Hatuta`a, the population was estimated at c.225 birds in 1975 and, although it was thought to be similar in 1987, in 2007 it was estimated at c.1,000 individuals. This is unlikely to be a genuine increase, but is instead is thought to be a result of more accurate survey methods (Thibault 1988, P. Raust in litt. 2007, A. Gouni in litt. 2007). In 2011, an apparent decrease in the number of individuals on Hatuta`a was reported, likely due to a serious drought in the preceding two years (P. Raust in litt. 2012). On Fatu Huku, the population was estimated at 10-100 in the 1990s, and it was thought to be similar in 2002 (Seitre and Seitre 1991, A. Gouni in litt. 2007) and in 2011, when six birds were observed on the island (Butaud 2011). Based on this information, the long-term population trend is suspected to be stable. Should the population be found to be decreasing, the species would warrant uplisting to a higher threat category.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:1000Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:2Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation:1-89

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It inhabits wooded regions, groves of Pisonia grandis and shrubby vegetation feeding primarily on seeds (Holyoak and Thibault 1984). On Hatuta`a, the birds prefer the plateau, rarely descending to vegetation near the sea (Holyoak and Thibault 1984).

Systems:Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):6.6
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Predation by cats has probably caused its disappearance from other islets in the group. Due to the negative effects of a drought on Hatuta`a, (P. Raust in litt. 2012) it is likely that the effects of climate change, including more frequent and severe environmental events (e.g. La Nina and El Niño Southern Oscillation events) could pose a threat to the species in the future.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
Hatuta`a is a protected area but there is no active management.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey and monitor its population on both islands. Take measures to ensure that the islands remain cat-free. Effectively manage Hatuta`a (P. Raust in litt. 1999). Investigate the possibility of translocation to the nearby island of Mohotani if cats are eradicated from that island (SPREP 1999).


Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Alopecoenas rubescens. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22691061A38235881. . Downloaded on 06 December 2016.
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