Ptilinopus rarotongensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Columbiformes Columbidae

Scientific Name: Ptilinopus rarotongensis Hartlaub & Finsch, 1871
Common Name(s):
English Rarotonga Fruit-dove, Cook Islands Fruit-Dove, Lilac-crowned Fruit 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. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Identification information: 20 cm. Small, mostly green pigeon. Pale greenish-grey foreparts (head, chest, upper back) contrasting with remainder of plumage but with indistinct borders. Brilliant rose-lavender crown and forehead, yellow underparts, upper belly variably tinged copper-red. Bill red at base, apple-green at tip. Red-orange iris and feet. Voice Evenly spaced series of low notes HOO-HOO-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D1+2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Dutson, G., McCormack, G. & Pilgrim, J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Derhé, M., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Shutes, S., Stattersfield, A., North, A.
This species now occurs only on two tiny islands, with the majority of the very small population occurring on Atiu. It is therefore susceptible to stochastic events and human impacts, and consequently qualifies as Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Ptilinopus rarotongensis survives only on Rarotonga (where it is moderately common) (G. McCormack in litt. 2007) and Atiu, Cook Islands, but was once more widespread given early historic records from Aitutaki and Mauke, and fossils from Mangaia (Steadman 1989). In 1987, the population on Rarotonga was estimated at fewer than 100 individuals, but it was apparently common on Atiu (Pratt et al. 1987). It now appears more common on both islands, with the population on Rarotonga probably exceeding 500 individuals and with perhaps twice that present on Atiu G. (McCormack 1997, J. Pilgrim in litt. 2002, McCormack in litt. 2007). There is no evidence of inter-island movements (Baptista et al. 1997).

Countries occurrence:
Cook Islands
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:1700
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 is placed in the band 250-999 mature individuals, equating to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend Justification:  There is no evidence to assume that the population is not stable (McCormack in litt. 2007).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:250-999Continuing 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:On Rarotonga, it is most common in hillside and upland forest, often visiting the horticultural lowland areas. On Atiu, it is found in a wide variety of wooded habitats, including the fringes of plantations as well as forest growing on the makatea (a raised coral limestone platform) (Pratt et al. 1987, Baptista et al. 1997). It is an arboreal forager (Lapiedra et al. 2013), primarily frugivorous, but has also been reported to peck small insects from foliage (Baptista et al. 1997).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):3.2
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There is no evidence that the black rat Rattus rattus, which is present on Rarotonga, poses any threat to this species. The introduction of exotic avian diseases to which local birds have no immunity, although unlikely, is another possible threat (McCormack 1997). Although the introduced Common Myna Acridotheres tristis is likely to reduce the nesting success of this species in horticultural and village areas it does not penetrate into heavily forested areas. Habitat destruction is likely to be a fairly minor threat at present since most native forest required for horticulture and housing was cleared a long time ago.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The species perhaps marginally benefits from conservation measures carried out for the Rarotonga Flycatcher Pomarea dimidiata (classified as Endangered) in the south-east of the island.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey and monitor the species on both islands to establish numbers and trends. Research its immediate conservation requirements (Baptista et al. 1997), including foraging and dietary studies (Steadman and Freifeld 1999). Take measures to ensure that alien species are not accidentally introduced, especially R. rattus on Atiu. Consider translocation to Mangaia (Steadman and Freifeld 1999).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Ptilinopus rarotongensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22691465A93313234. . Downloaded on 26 September 2018.
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