Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Green Imperial-pigeon (Ducula aenea)


French: Carpophage pauline German: Bronzefruchttaube Spanish: Dúcula verde
Other common names: Chestnut-naped Imperial-pigeon (paulina), Nicobar Imperial-pigeon (nicobarica)

Columba ænea


, 1766,

Moluccas; error = Manila, Philippines


Forms a species-group with D. oenothorax (with which usually considered conspecific), D. perspicillata, D. neglecta and D. concinna. Race nicobarica treated as a distinct species by some recent authors#R on the basis of its darker, blue-glossed mantle (1), dusky-brown vs chestnut vent (2) and different song (distinctiveness apparently considerable, so at least 2); however, fuller evidence needed. Race paulina sometimes also considered a separate species, differing in its large, pale vinous-rufous nuchal patch (from hindneck to mantle and neck-sides, and connecting vaguely to postocular area) (3) and slightly more pinkish-buffy face than other taxa (1); again, fuller evidence needed. Owing to confusion over type locality of nominate aenea, previously thought to be in Malaysia but later corrected to Philippines#R, population now listed under polia was formerly included under aenea; chalybura and glaucocauda are synonyms of aenea. Racial variation not altogether clear: proposed form kwangtungensis (S China) included in sylvatica; mista (Simeulue), babiensis (Babi I, off S Simeulue) and vicinus (Batu and Mentawai Is) included in consobrina; pallidinucha (Tobea I, off SE Sulawesi), pulchella (Togian Is), sulana (Sula Is) and intercedens (Peleng, in Banggai Is) all included in paulina, although it has recently been suggested that pulchella may, after all, represent a valid taxon (it shows a brown shoulder)#R; further analysis may reduce still further the number of races accepted. Twelve subspecies currently recognized. The present species differs from D. oenothorax in its grey vs purplish-pinkbreast (3), chestnut vs green vent (3), and duller upperparts (1).

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. a. sylvatica (Tickell, 1833) – N India through Nepal and Bangladesh to S China (including Hainan I), S to S Myanmar (C Tenasserim), N & S Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
  • D. a. pusilla (Blyth, 1849) – S India and Sri Lanka.
  • D. a. andamanica Abdulali, 1964 – Andaman Is.
  • D. a. nicobarica (Pelzeln, 1865) – Nicobar Is.
  • D. a. consobrina (Salvadori, 1887) – islands off W Sumatra (excluding Enggano).
  • D. a. polia (Oberholser, 1917) – C & S Malay Peninsula, Greater Sundas, and Lesser Sundas (E to Alor).
  • D. a. fugaensis (Hachisuka, 1930) – Calayan, Fuga and Camiguin Norte (N Philippines).
  • D. a. nuchalis (Cabanis, 1882) – N Luzon (N Philippines).
  • D. a. palawanensis (A. W. H. Blasius, 1888) – W & SW Philippines (Calamian Group, Linapacan, Palawan, Dumaran and Balabac) and Banggi (off NE Borneo).
  • D. a. aenea (Linnaeus, 1766) – Philippines (except far N parts and S & SW islands).
  • D. a. intermedia (A. B. Meyer & Wiglesworth, 1894) – Talaud Is and Sangihe Is.
  • D. a. paulina Bonaparte, 1854 – Sulawesi (and associated islands off NE coasts), and Togian Is, Banggai Is and Sula Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    40–47 cm, 365–644 g. Head, neck, upper mantle, breast and belly pale grey-pink; some white feathers around eye and at base of bill; upperparts iridescent green,... read more


    A rather vocal species. Most common vocalization is a low-pitched, growling or purring, bisyllabic... read more


    Forests, including both primary and secondary evergreen and monsoon forests; also coastal scrub,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Frugivorous, taking a large variety of fruits and berries, typically up to 40 mm in diameter and on Sulawesi involving at least 33 species... read more


    In India breeds Dec–Jun (Mar–Jun in N, Dec–May in S including Sri Lanka and Andaman and Nicobar Is); in Peninsular... read more


    Apparently resident, although nocturnal dispersal reported in Peninsular Malaysia. In S Vietnam,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread and remains common in much of its extensive range, e.g. in many parts of Sri Lanka, Nicobars, Greater Sundas, Philippines... read more

    Recommended citation

    Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Kirwan, G.M., Boesman, P. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Green Imperial-pigeon (Ducula aenea). 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 15 November 2019).