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Sulu Bleeding-heart Gallicolumba menagei
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This species has not been recorded with certainty since two specimens taken in 1891, and it may have declined severely through extensive logging and habitat destruction, compounded by hunting and trapping. However, it is perhaps unlikely to have gone extinct as there were local reports from a number of islands in 1995, and claims that it was quite abundant until the 1970s. Although disappearing fast, some habitat still remains. Any remaining population is likely to be tiny, and for these reasons it is treated as Critically Endangered.

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.

30 cm. Medium-sized, rather short-tailed pigeon with bright orange central patch to otherwise white breast. Dark grey forehead merging into iridescent green nape and upper mantle, extending down to cross lower breast almost completely, and sharply demarcated from otherwise white throat and breast-sides. Rest of upperparts dark chestnut, glossed deep reddish-purple, with uniform brownish-chestnut wings. Belly ashy-grey, merging into creamy-white vent and undertail-coverts. Similar spp. Possibly confusable with Tawitawi Brown-dove Phapitreron cinereiceps if seen poorly. Voice Undocumented. Hints Presumably feeds on forest floor, and generally only flies short distances, as with other Gallicolumba species.

Distribution and population
Gallicolumba menagei is endemic to the Sulu archipelago in the Philippines. It is known by just two specimens taken on Tawitawi in 1891, when it was described as extremely rare. The only evidence of its continued existence derives from unconfirmed local reports in 1995. Local reports claim that it was quite abundant before the 1970s, but had declined dramatically and is now only rarely seen. Visits to Tawitawi in February and June 2009 did not produce any records of the species (I. Sarenas per Sykes 2009), and conversations with trappers and other local people have failed to find anyone familiar with the species (R. Hutchinson in litt. 2012). Despite apparently being well-forested with secondary regrowth, Tandubatu, Dundangan and Baliungan have a total area of 17 km2, and are thought unlikely to support viable populations.

Population justification
The population is assumed to be tiny (fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals) based on assessment of local reports and area of remaining habitat which concluded that the population must be extremely small and on the verge of extinction. It is reliably known from just two specimens collected in 1891; there have been no confirmed records since and repeated surveys in the 1990s failed to find any direct evidence of the species.

Trend justification
In 1994, most primary forest on the island of Tawitawi had been logged or cleared and only fragments remained, with proposals to convert some of those into oil-palm plantations. As a result this species is suspected to be experiencing continuing declines.

This species may be a small-island specialist. It may survive in logged forest, although its close relative G. keayi apparently prefers primary forest (Allen 1998).

In 1994, remaining primary forest on Tawitawi was being rapidly cleared and the areas of forest left were highly degraded and recently logged. In 1996, there were plans to replace even these with oil-palm plantations, but in 2006 some forest tracts reportedly remained. Logging of the few remaining tracts, now confined to rugged, mountainous areas, is on-going. Small-scale logging operations occur on Tandubatu, Dundangan and Baliungan. No forest remains on the island of Jolo where there is an historic, unconfirmed report of the species (Baptista et al. 2013). Hunting and trapping may have caused a substantial decrease during martial law in the 1970s.

Conservation Actions Underway
Military activity and insurgency continue to present a serious obstacle to general conservation activity in the Sulus. There are no protected areas in the archipelago. A proposal exists to provide conservation funding for the Tawitawi/Sulu Coastal Area, although neither the outcome nor the likely benefits to the species are known. In 1997, a public awareness campaign focusing on the conservation of terrestrial biodiversity on Tawitawi was initiated. In the mid-1990s, the species featured on a bilingual environmental awareness poster in the "Only in the Philippines" series.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct intensive surveys of all remaining forest tracts on Tawitawi and other islands, such as those nearby as well as Sulu and Siasi for example, in order to establish whether the species is still extant. Urgently propose any sites found to support the species for strict protection. Incorporate protective measures relevant to this species within conservation funding proposals for the Tawitawi/Sulu Coastal Area, as and where appropriate.

Allen, D. 1998. Tawitawi: August 1998..

Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Christie, D.A., Kirwan, G.M. and Sharpe, C.J. 2013. Sulu Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba menagei). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. and de Juana, E. (eds), Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive, Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Collar, N. J.; Mallari, N. A. D.; Tabaranza, B. R. J. 1999. Threatened birds of the Philippines: the Haribon Foundation/BirdLife International Red Data Book. Bookmark, Makati City.

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

Sykes, B. 2009. OBC conservation: news update and requests for practical help. BirdingASIA 12: 107-108.

Further web sources of information
Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This species has been identified as an AZE trigger due to its IUCN Red List status and limited range.

Click here for more information about the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)

Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

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., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Lowen, J., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Ashpole, J

Allen, D., Hutchinson, R. & Rumsey, S.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Gallicolumba menagei. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

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 Critically Endangered
Family Columbidae (Pigeons, Doves)
Species name author (Bourns & Worcester, 1894)
Population size 1-49 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 590 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species