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Palau Ground-dove Alopecoenas canifrons
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is classified as Near Threatened because although it occurs widely on the Palau Archipelago it is scarce throughout much of its range and is thought to have a moderately small population.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Taxonomic note
Alopecoenas canifrons (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Gallicolumba.

Gallicolumba canifrons (Hartlaub & Finsch, 1872)

Distribution and population
Gallicolumba canifrons is endemic to Palau where it is found in dense forest on all the major islands from Babeldaob (very rare) to Angaur, and on many of the small limestone islands south of Koror known as the Rock Islands (where it is more common) (Engbring 1988). It is difficult to locate because of its secretive habits, sparse vocalisations (H. D. Pratt in litt. 1999) and inaccessible habitat and, during a survey in 1991, too few were counted to record a meaningful population estimate, although it was thought there were approximately 500 individuals present on the Rock Islands (Engbring 1992). However, although it is scarce through much of its range, the Rock Islands are not faced with imminent development, nor is the species hunted and numbers may be stable (Engbring 1992).

Population justification
The species occurs throughout the Palau archipelago but it is rare on most islands. It is common only on the small Rock Islands where in 1982 there were thought to be 500 individuals. The population is therefore likely to be at the lower end of the band 1,000-2,499 individuals. This equates to 667-1,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 600-1,700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
There are no data on trends. However, the species is relatively secure on some tiny islands and is suspected to be stable overall.

It prefers limestone islands, inhabiting forest on rocky terrain. It is terrestial, foraging for fallen fruits and seeds in places where deep leaf-litter has accumulated, such as gullies and hollows.

The introduction of alien species (e.g. rats, brown tree snake Boiga irregularis) is a serious potential threat. The Palau Conservation Society reported observing a ground dove being killed by a rat in 2005 (A. Gupta in litt. 2011).

Conservation Actions Underway
The species was included in the 1991 and 2005 National Bird Survey conducted by the Palau Conservation Society and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The 1991 survey reported a relative abundance estimate for Ground Doves of 0.015 birds/station and the 2005 survey reported relative abundance estimate of 0.006+0.003 birds/station. However, the species was not well surveyed in 2005 and the data is very sparse (based on sightings of only 4 birds).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to assess the species's population size. Take measures to prevent the accidental introduction of B. irregularis to islands important for the species.

Engbring, J. 1988. Field guide to the birds of Palau. Conservation Office and Bureau of Education, Koror, Palau.

Engbring, J. 1992. A 1991 survey of the forest birds of the Republic of Palau. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Honolulu.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Derhé, M., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Shutes, S., Stattersfield, A.

Gupta, A., Pratt, H.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Alopecoenas canifrons. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Columbidae (Pigeons, Doves)
Species name author (Hartlaub & Finsch, 1872)
Population size 600-1700 mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 460 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species