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Victoria Crowned-pigeon Goura victoria
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has been downlisted to Near Threatened as it is no longer suspected to be undergoing rapid declines since hunting pressure is no longer thought to represent a significant threat. Nevertheless, moderately rapid ongoing declines are still suspected to be taking place owing to the impacts of selective logging and the development of oil-palm plantations in its lowland forest habitat.

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.

74 cm. Huge, blue-grey and maroon terrestrial pigeon with spectacular white-tipped sagittal crest. Similar spp. Hybridises with other crowned-pigeons where ranges abut. Southern Crowned-pigeon G. scheepmakeri has plain unpatterned crest and is maroon on lower breast. Western Crowned-pigeon G. cristata has unpatterned crest, plain grey underparts and maroon mantle and wing-coverts. Voice Quiet, resonating twinned booms. Hints Birds forage on ground and are wary, flushing at distance and then alighting on forest perches from 10-25 meters above the ground.

Distribution and population
Goura victoria occurs on Biak-Supiori (where it may have been introduced), the Yapen islands, and northern New Guinea from Geelvink Bay, Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), Indonesia, to Astrolabe Bay, and an isolated area around Collingwood Bay in easternmost Papua New Guinea (Coates 1985, Beehler et al. 1986, King and Nijboer 1994). Its absence between Astrolabe Bay and Collingwood Bay is likely to be natural, given the lack of a coastal plain along this strip, though some think it may indicate a historic extirpation (King and Nijboer 1994, B. Beehler in litt. 2000, B. Beehler in litt. 2007). The main populations are in the Sepik Basin of PNG and the Mamberamo Basin of Papua (B. Beehler in litt. 2007), it remains locally common in some remote undisturbed areas (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994), and in lowland alluvial forest (B. Beehler in litt. 2012).

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 2,500-9,999 individuals. This equates to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Loss and degradation of lowland forest through large-scale selective logging and the development of oil palm plantations, as well as on-going hunting pressure and capture for trade, are suspected to be driving a moderately rapid population decline in this species.

This species is found in lowland forest, including swamp-forest, mostly in the extreme lowlands, but sometimes to 600 m (Coates 1985). It feeds on the ground in small groups of 2-10 birds and roosts in trees. Captive birds start breeding from 15 months old, lay a single egg, and tend to the fledgling for some months after hatching (King and Nijboer 1994).

It is prized by hunters for meat and, to a lesser extent, for its feathers (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994). Nestlings are also taken to be reared for food (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1999). It has become extirpated from the vicinity of some transmigration settlements in Papua where it had survived constant hunting from indigenous people (King and Nijboer 1994), but elsewhere it does appear to persist close to habitation and close to hunters (G. Dutson in litt. 2013). The species is fairly difficult to hunt without a shotgun (which are essentially no longer available in New Guinea) as it flushes at considerable distance (c.40 m) and perches high in the middle-story, out of the reach of hunters with bows, and thus hunting represents less of a threat than previously feared (B. Beehler in litt. 2012, G. Dutson in litt. 2013). Lowland forests (such as in the Sepik basin), particularly on the flat terrain favoured by this species, are threatened by selective logging and the development of oil palm plantations, as well as logging roads opening up access to hunters (King and Nijboer 1994, I. Burrows in litt. 1994, P. Gregory in litt. 1994, B. Beehler in litt. 2012). Capture for trade may also be significant (King and Nijboer 1994).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is protected by law in Papua New Guinea. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey suitable habitat between Astrolabe Bay and Collingwood Bay. Determine populations in study areas such as the Wapoga River. Assess hunting levels through discussion with local hunters. Investigate population trends through discussion with local hunters. Ascertain tolerance of logged forest. Monitor numbers traded. Establish more wildlife protection areas in lowlands and develop captive breeding programmes. Enforce protection in uninhabited reserve areas. Launch public awareness programmes to reduce hunting. Utilise as a flagship species in ecotourism ventures.

Beehler, B. M.; Pratt, T. K.; Zimmerman, D. A. 1986. Birds of New Guinea. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Coates, B. J. 1985. The birds of Papua New Guinea, 1: non-passerines. Dove, Alderley, Australia.

Collar, N. J.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook.

European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. EEPs and ESBs. Available at:

King, C. E.; Nijboer, J. 1994. Conservation considerations for crowned pigeons, genus Goura. Oryx 28: 22-30.

Further web sources of information
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
Bird, J., Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Stattersfield, A. & Symes, A.

Beehler, B., Bishop, K., Burrows, I., Gregory, P. & Dutson, G.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Goura victoria. 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 - Victoria crowned-pigeon (Goura victoria) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Columbidae (Pigeons, Doves)
Species name author (Fraser, 1844)
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 117,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species