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Henderson Fruit-dove Ptilinopus insularis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species qualifies as Vulnerable as it is only found on one small island where it remains at risk from the accidental introduction of exotic species.

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.

22 cm. Small, basically two-toned pigeon. Crown and forehead bright rose-red narrowly bordered by golden-yellow. Pale blue-grey head, neck, upper back, and chest. Rest of body olive-green, paler below with yellow undertail-coverts. Tail with bronzy reflections above, tipped white. Wing feathers edged yellow, tending to white on tertials. Yellow-green bill. Orange-red iris and feet. Voice A coarse coo.

Distribution and population
Ptilinopus insularis is confined to Henderson in the Pitcairn Islands (to UK), a small uninhabited, raised-reef island in the south-central Pacific Ocean. In 1987, its population was estimated at c.3,420 birds (Graves 1992) and, in 1992, using a different technique, at c.4,000; in 2003 there appeared to be no major change in the species' abundance (Brooke and Jones 1995, M. Brooke in litt. 2007), likewise for 2012 (M. Brooke in litt. 2012). Numbers may be limited by food supply (Brooke and Jones 1995) and are assumed to be stable.

Population justification
Brooke and Jones (1995).

Trend justification
No new data are available, but the species's entire range is well protected and no new threats are suspected.

The species inhabits interior forest, with dense understorey. It is a specialist frugivore (possibly territorial so that it can exploit fruits as they become available), foraging solitarily or in pairs (Brooke and Jones 1995). Research in 1991/1992 recorded 19 different plants in its diet, with Procris pedunculata constituting the major food. A preference for fruit with a high water content suggests that the species may rely on its food for obtaining water, especially during dry spells (as there is no permanent water on Henderson) (Brooke and Jones 1995). From two nests, each with a single egg recorded in March, the breeding season would appear to be at the beginning of the calendar year and clutch-size is probably one (Brooke and Jones 1995).

The species has apparently adapted to the presence of Pacific rat Rattus exulans. In August 2011, a rat eradication operation was carried out on Henderson Island to eradicate R. exulans from the island (J. Hall in litt. 2012). However, the accidental introduction of a more aggressive predator, such as another Rattus species, could be devastating, and introduced diseases, such as avian malaria and pox, are another potential threat. The introduction of exotic plant species could have serious consequences for the native vegetation (Waldren et al. 1995) and therefore for this species too. 

Conservation Actions Underway
In 1988, Henderson was designated a World Heritage Site. Following a feasibility study (Brooke and Towns 2008) a rat eradication operation was carried out on Henderson Island in August 2011 (J. Hall in litt. 2012). A follow-up monitoring expedition is planned for 2013 to assess the success of the rat eradication.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Periodically resurvey to monitor numbers and trends. Ensure that further alien species are not accidentally introduced to Henderson.

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Brooke, M. De L.; Jones, P. J. 1995. The diet of the Henderson Fruit-dove Ptilinopus insularis,1. Field observations of fruit choice. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 56: 149-165.

Graves, G. R. 1992. The endemic land birds of Henderson Island, southeastern Polynesia: notes on natural history and conservation. Wilson Bulletin 104: 32-43.

Waldren, S.; Florence, J.; Chepstow-Lusty, A. J. 1995. Rare and endemic vascular plants of the Pitcairn Islands, south-central Pacific Ocean: a conservation appraisal. Biological Conservation 74: 83-98.

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
Derhé, M., Mahood, S., Shutes, S., Stattersfield, A.

Brooke, M., Bell, B., Hall, J.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Ptilinopus insularis. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016.

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 - Henderson fruit-dove (Ptilinopus insularis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Columbidae (Pigeons, Doves)
Species name author (North, 1908)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 41 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species