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Somali Pigeon Columba oliviae
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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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.

28 cm. A small, pale grey pigeon. Adult overall very pale grey with warmer upperparts and a dark tip to tail and dark band across rump. The crown is pinkish brown and the eye pale yellow. Oily green and blue iridescent patches on sides of neck apparent only at close range. Similar spp. Within its range might be confused with Feral Pigeon which is larger and much darker. Voice Typical pigeon-like cooings. Hints Little known pigeon but most likely seen at Guban Cliffs and in mountains east of Ras Asayr in N Somalia.

Distribution and population
Columba oliviae is a locally common species endemic to north-east Somalia (Ash and Miskell 1998). It has been found from 45°E east to Cap Guardafui and south down the east coast as far as 7°30'N (Ash and Miskell 1998). There have been records as recently as 2005 at a few sites, including in areas around Galgalo (J. Miskell in litt. 2006). Given its small range and the paucity of recent information, its status remains uncertain, though there is no evidence to suggest that it has changed in the last 60 years (J. S. Ash in litt. 1999). There has been no survey or conservation work carried out in recent years; something that is urgently required to improve existing knowledge of this species's abundance, distribution, ecology and possible threats.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as probably rare, although poorly known (Gibbs et al. 2001).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

It is a ground-feeding, rock-dwelling bird of arid, coastal regions, at altitudes of 75-750 m (though once seen at 1,425 m), within 24 km of the coast (Ash and Miskell 1998). It is generally resident but shows seasonal movements locally (Ash and Miskell 1998). It feeds mainly on the ground, on seeds, cultivated grains and berries (Baptista et al. 1997). Very little is known of its breeding ecology (Baptista et al. 1997, Ash and Miskell 1998).

A potential threat may come from Speckled Pigeon Columba guinea, which is still expanding its range very rapidly in Somalia and was seen for the first time in the Galgalo area in April 2005 (Miskell in litt. 2006). How this may affect the Somali Pigeon remains to be seen. No other threats are known.

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey and monitor populations in suitable habitat within known range. Study breeding ecology and possible threats (including that posed by C. guinea).

Ash, J. S.; Miskell, J. E. 1998. Birds of Somalia. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, U.K.

Baptista, L. F.; Trail, P. W.; Horblit, H. M. 1997. Family Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. (ed.), Handbook of the birds of the world v.4, pp. 60-243. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Collar, N. J.; Stuart, S. N. 1985. Threatened birds of Africa and related islands: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, and International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Cambridge, U.K.

Gibbs, D.; Barnes, E.; Cox, J. 2001. Pigeons and doves: a guide to the pigeons and doves of the world. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, U.K.

Gibbs, D.; Barnes, E.; Cox, J. 2001. Pigeons and doves: a guide to the pigeons and doves of the world. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, U.K.

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

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Starkey, M., Shutes, S., Butchart, S., Bird, J., Symes, A.

Ash, J., Miskell, J.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Columba oliviae. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Somali pigeon (Columba oliviae) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Data Deficient
Family Columbidae (Pigeons, Doves)
Species name author Clarke, 1918
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 24,700 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change