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New Caledonian Imperial-pigeon Ducula goliath
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

Although probably secure at present, this species qualifies as Near Threatened because it is projected to undergo a moderately rapid population reduction in the future, owing to increasing hunting pressure.

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.

Distribution and population
Ducula goliath is endemic to New Caledonia (to France). Recent studies have estimated much higher populations than previously surmised, with 1,500-7,000 individuals for Parc Provincial Rivière Bleue depending on the season (Grillet 1995, J-P. Demoncheaux in litt. 1997, Y. Létocart verbally 1998) and 100,000 individuals for the entire island (Ekstrom et al. 2000). It is distributed from the far north (Mandjelia) to the extreme south at Goro and is common in suitable habitat throughout (V. Chartendrault N. Barré in litt. 2007). It is present on the Ile des Pins and absent from the Loyalty islands (V. Chartendrault N. Barré in litt. 2007).

Population justification
The global population size has been estimated at roughly 100,000 individuals (Gibbs et al. 2001).

Trend justification
There are no data on population trends; however, the species may be in decline owing to hunting and habitat degradation and is suspected to undergo a population decline in the future, particularly if there is any relaxation of hunting laws, or changes in the timing of the hunting season.

It is a humid forest species, occurring throughout the island wherever there are tall trees, and ranging to 1,500 m. It may live in quite small patches of forest along talwegs, particularly in the south (V. Chartendrault N. Barré in litt. 2007).

As a nomadic species, it may require large areas of protected forest to survive. Hunting by indigenous Kanaks could be in decline (Maruia/CI 1998, Ekstrom et al. 2000) and recreational hunting is presently significant only in a few easily accessible forests. Although the overall population is considered safe, any relaxation of hunting laws, or change in the timing of the hunting season, would severely impact some populations (Ekstrom et al. 2000, Barre et al. 2003). During the traditional ignam feast (from February to May, depending on the region), many individuals are killed by most of the tribes in the mountains and on the slopes. This famous game species has a symbolic value (it is considered the king of the birds) and is killed at certain occasions. As a game bird, it is legally hunted during the weekends of April, with a maximum of 5 birds per day/hunter (V. Chartendrault N. Barré in litt. 2007). Unfortunately, it is also shot all-year-round for the illegal trade in towns and villages, or for local consumption, especially at special events such as wedding and religious days (V. Chartendrault N. Barré in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Underway
It is protected by law for most of the year. Conservation Actions Proposed
Effectively protect lowland forests. Lobby against any changes in the law which would extend or change the timing of the hunting season. Monitor populations in key sites. Enforce the closed season. Increase awareness amongst local residents regarding the laws concerning this species.

Barré, N.; de Garine Wichatitsky, M.; Lecoq, R.; Maillard, J.-C. 2003. Contribution to the knowledge of the New Caledonian imperial pigeon Ducula goliath (Gray 1859) with emphasis on sexual dimorphism. Notornis 50: 155-160.

Ekstrom, J. M. M.; Jones, J. P. G.; Willis, J.; Isherwood, I. 2000. The humid forests of New Caledonia: biological research and conservation recommendations for the vertebrate fauna of Grande Terre. CSB Conservation Publications, 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.

Grillet. 1995. Mise au point d'une methode de recensement du carpophage geant Ducula goliath dans le Parc Provincial de la Rivière Bleue, en Nouvelle Calédonie.

Maruia/CI. 1998. Conserving biodiversity in Province Nord, New Caledonia. Conservation International and Maruia Society, Washington, DC.

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
Benstead, P., Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A.

Barré, N., Demoncheaux, J., Letocart, Y.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Ducula goliath. 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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Columbidae (Pigeons, Doves)
Species name author (Gray, 1859)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 16,400 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species