Alopecoenas rubescens


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Alopecoenas rubescens
Species Authority: (Vieillot, 1818)
Common Name(s):
English Marquesas Ground-dove, Marquesan Ground-Dove, Marquesan Ground Dove
Gallicolumba rubescens (Vieillot, 1818)
Taxonomic Notes: Alopecoenas rubescens (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Gallicolumba.

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.
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.

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).

French Polynesia
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.
Population Trend: Stable

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

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. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 02 September 2015.
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