Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Eastern Superb Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus superbus)


French: Ptilope superbe German: Östliche Prachtfruchttaube Spanish: Tilopo soberbio oriental
Other common names: Superb Fruit-dove (when lumped with P. temminckii)

Columba Superba


, 1809,



Affinities uncertain, but genetic data link closely to P. rivoli and P. solomonensis#R. Hitherto considered conspecific with P. temminckii but here split on account of its pure grey lower breast divided sharply from bluish-black ventral band vs purplish lower breast shading into a bluish-black ventral band (3); brighter but less sharply defined rusty mantle and neck-sides (2); crown of female green shading to dark blue at rear vs purplish like male (3). Believed by some to be closely related to P. perousii, and allied to the large P. purpuratus species-group; an alternative treatment placed present species with a species-group including P. tannensis, P. wallacii, P. aurantiifrons, P. ornatus and P. perlatus. Monotypic.


Moluccas, W Papuan Is and Aru Is, E through New Guinea to Admiralty Is and Bismarck Archipelago, D’Entrecasteaux Is and Louisiade Archipelago, on to Solomon Is (E to Malaita) and S to coastal E Australia (but chiefly vagrant from Rockhampton area of Queensland S to Tasmania).

Descriptive notes

21–24 cm; 76–145 g. Crown to nape and upper lores purple; lower lores, malar area, chin and throat pale greyish white, rest of sides of head green; broad red-... read more


A slow series of 5–7 short, disyllabic, medium-pitched, upslurred “whup” notes that accelerates... read more


Occurs in a variety of forested habitats, including mangroves, agroforest with scattered trees,... read more

Food and feeding

Frugivorous; takes a variety of small- to medium-sized fruits (5–20 mm in diameter); in a study in Papua New Guinea, four families (... read more


In Papua New Guinea, nests found during both rainy and dry seasons (with records in Jan, Feb, May–Sept), and nesting probably occurs... read more


Some populations presumably sedentary, others highly mobile; movement patterns poorly understood.... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common throughout much of its extensive range; shy and inconspicuous, and probably under-recorded. In Moluccas described as... read more

Recommended citation

Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Eastern Superb Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus superbus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 9 April 2020).