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White-tailed Laurel-pigeon Columba junoniae
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species qualifies as Near Threatened because, within its very small range, it is restricted to just four islands, on which threats remain that could negatively impact the species in the future.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
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.

38 cm. Large, dark brown and grey pigeon. Mainly dark sepia-brown, redder on underparts. Pale grey tail with broad, whitish terminal band. Extensive green gloss to rear crown and hindneck becoming pink on upper mantle. Whitish bill and pale eye. Similar spp. Dark-tailed Laurel Pigeon C. bollii has pale grey subterminal band and blackish terminal band to tail. Dark tail base and rump and overall slate-grey colouration. Voice Crooning pu-pu-pooo.

Distribution and population
Columba junoniae is endemic to the Canary Islands, Spain, where it occurs on the islands of La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife and El Hierro (González 1996, Martín and Lorenzo 2001), and formerly on Gran Canaria (Barov and Derhé 2011). In the 1980s, the population was estimated at 1,200-1,480 individuals, but more surveys conducted during 1997-2000 estimate the population at 1,000-2,499 pairs (BirdLife International 2004). Although this figure is considerably higher than the previous estimate, the increase in numbers may reflect increased sampling effort rather than an actual population increase, however, recent the species is now believed to be more widely distributed than previously thought (Martín and Lorenzo 2001, Martín et al. 2000). Data from censuses and recent phylogenetic studies have shown that the preferred vegetation type of the species is thermophilous forest (Gonzalez et al. 2009, Marrero et al. 2008, Nogales et al. 2009), which is has been heavily reduced and only small fragments of original habitat remain (Santos 2000). Habitat loss has had severe consequences on the distribution of C. junoniae, which currently survives in secondary areas of laurel and pine forest (Martín et al. 2000). The largest subpopulation is found on La Palma, where it occurs across much of the northern half of the island. The species is common on La Gomera, where it is found primarily in the north, and also occurs patchily on the northern slopes of Tenerife. It has recently also been recorded on El Hierro; however, breeding there has not yet been confirmed (Martín and Lorenzo 2001, Martín et al. 2000). Although the species was recently suspected to be declining on Tenerife (Hernández 2004), data suggest that its Area of Occupancy, and so presumably its population, has increased overall during the last 20 years (Barov and Derhé 2011).

Population justification
The breeding population is estimated to number 1,000-2,500 breeding pairs, equating to 3,000-7,500 individuals, roughly equivalent to 2,000-5,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The species's Area of Occupancy is larger than previously thought and may have increased over the last 20 years (Barov and Derhé 2011), thus its population is suspected to have increased over the last 17 years (estimate of three generations).

It prefers thermophilous forest, with a potential altitudinal range of 200-500 m asl on the north slopes of the islands, and 600-1000 m asl in the south (Nogales et al. 2009) and occurs in areas with steep slopes, escarpments and gullies, as well as in laurel forest and Canary pine forest, and cultivated areas (Martín et al. 2000). Nests are on the ground - in fissures, holes or small ledges, at the bases of trees, and under rocks or fallen tree trunks - in steep, rocky, shady areas with abundant shrubby vegetation (Martín et al. 2000). The breeding season varies between islands, but extends from January to September, with a peak between April-June. At least on Tenerife, breeding success appears to be low, as a consequence of intense nest predation (Hernández et al. 1999, Martín et al. 2000).

Habitat loss has been extensive. Dry and laurel forests have been intensively exploited since the 15th century, and some areas of remaining forest continue to be felled and fragmented owing to the demand for wooden stakes and poles for agriculture, particularly vine-growing (Hernández 2004, Martín et al. 2000). Grazing by livestock, notably sheep, is degrading habitat on El Hierro and La Gomera. Predation of eggs and chicks by rats, and of nesting adults by feral cats Felis catus, are important threats (Hernández 2004), particularly on Tenerife where five of seven nests monitored were predated, primarily by black rats Rattus rattus (Hernández et al. 1999, Martín et al. 2000). Illegal hunting remains a threat, especially when birds concentrate at drinking and feeding sites (Hernández 2004). Recreational activities such as climbing, abseiling, quad-biking, mountain-biking and motocross may disturb nesting birds (Hernández 2004, Barov and Derhé 2011). The species is potentially threatened by outbreaks of Newcastle Disease and Tuberculosis (Barov and Derhé 2011).

Conservation Actions Underway
It is fully protected under Spanish law. Many protected areas have been established, including Garajonay National Park (La Gomera), and El Canal and Los Tiles (La Palma). The majority of areas inhabited by the species now have protected status under regional or national law (Barov and Derhé 2011). There have been several projects focused on the conservation of this species (and Dark-tailed Laurel Pigeon Columba bollii) since the 1980s. An action plan was published in 1996 and reviewed in 2010 (Barov and Derhé 2011). The restoration of pine forest and thermophile forest is still pending full implementation (Barov and Derhé 2011). As part of a LIFE project (2005-2008), work has been carried out to eradicate exotic plant species, plant native species, raise public awareness and increase knowledge of the survival of different native species found in thermophilous forest. Rat control programmes are in place on some islands. There are on-going efforts to reintroduce the species to Gran Canaria using birds from La Palma (Barov and Derhé 2011). Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct a population census and initiate monitoring. Ensure the adequate protection of key sites, particularly as yet unprotected ones on La Gomera and La Palma. Continue to promote the restoration of dry and laurel forests. Avoid further damage to laurel forest from commercial forestry. Control introduced predators at breeding sites, particularly on Tenerife. Control illegal hunting, especially at drinking sites. Continue on-going education and awareness campaigns.

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Barov, B and Derhé, M. A. 2011. Review of The Implementation Of Species Action Plans for Threatened Birds in the European Union 2004-2010. Final report. BirdLife International For the European Commission.

BirdLife International. 2004. Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

González, L. M. 1996. Action plan for the White-tailed Pigeon Columba junoniae. In: Heredia, B.; Rose, L.; Painter, M. (ed.), Globally threatened birds in Europe: action plans, pp. 319-326. Council of Europe, and BirdLife International, Strasbourg.

Hernández, M. A.; Martín, A.; Nogales, M. 1999. Breeding success and predation on artificial nests of the endemic pigeons Bolle's Laurel Pigeon Columba bollii and White-tailed Laurel Pigeon Columba junoniae in the laurel forest of Tenerife (Canary Islands). Ibis 141: 52-59.

Hernández, M.Á. 2004. Paloma Rabiche Columba junoniae. In: Madroño, A., González, C., Atienza, J.C. (ed.), Libro Rojo de las Aves de España, Dirección General para la Biodiversidad & SEO/BirdLife, Madrid.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Martín, A.; Lorenzo, J. A. 2001. Aves del Archipiélago Canario. Francisco Lemus Editor, La Laguna.

Martin, J.L., Thibault, J.C. and Bretagnolle, V. 2000. Black rats, island characteristics, and colonial nesting birds in the Mediterranean: consequences of an ancient introduction. Conservation Biology 14(5): 1452-1466.

Further web sources of information
Action Plan

Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

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
Capper, D., Derhé, M., Ekstrom, J., Peet, N., Pople, R. & Taylor, J.

Iñigo, A.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Columba junoniae. Downloaded from on 20/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 20/10/2016.

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 Hartert, 1916
Population size 2000-5000 mature individuals
Population trend Increasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,200 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment