Alopecoenas rubescens 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Columbiformes Columbidae

Scientific Name: Alopecoenas rubescens (Vieillot, 1818)
Common Name(s):
English Marquesas Ground-dove, Marquesan Ground Dove, Marquesan Ground-Dove
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. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
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: Endangered D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2017-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Blanvillain, C., Ghestemme, T., Gouni, A. & Raust, P.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Derhé, M., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Pilgrim, J., Stattersfield, A., Wheatley, H., Dutson, G.
This species qualifies as Endangered as it has a very small population size which fluctuates and sometimes falls below 250 mature individuals.

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 has been estimated in 1975, 1987, 2002, 2007 and 2010 as between 200-1,000, with fluctuations probably caused by drought (Thibault et al. 2013, C. Blanvillain in litt. 2017), although differences may also be a result of differences in survey methods (Thibault 1988, P. Raust in litt. 2007, A. Gouni in litt. 2007, C. Blanvillain in litt. 2017). 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:
French Polynesia
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:900
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:The total population on Hatuta'a was estimated at 200-250 in 1975 and 1987, 490-890 in 2002, 1,070 in 2007, <200 in 2010 and reportedly 'abundant' in 2012 (Thibault et al. 2013, C. Blanvillain in litt. 2017), with numbers potentially fluctuating because of drought (Thibault et al. 2013), although some differences may also be a result of differences in survey methods (Thibault 1988, P. Raust in litt. 2007, A. Gouni in litt. 2007, C. Blanvillain in litt. 2017). Small numbers persist on Fatu'uku, estimated at a few pairs in 2011 (Butard 2011). As the population appears to fluctuate, and it appears to be often <250 mature individuals, the population size is precautionarily placed in the range 50-249 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  On Hatuta`a, the population fluctuates probably as a result of droughts, with an overall stable trend (Thibault et al. 2013). 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:50-249Continuing 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

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, it has been reported to prefer the plateau, rarely descending to vegetation near the sea (Holyoak and Thibault 1984), or to occur from shore to summit, including cliffs, and most abundant in mixed tussock grassland and subscrub which covers 22% of the island (Thibault et al. 2013).

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): Depredation 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, Thibault et al. 2013) 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. 2017. Alopecoenas rubescens. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22691061A118535609. . Downloaded on 15 October 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided