Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)


Grey Imperial-pigeon (Ducula pickeringii)


French: Carpophage de Pickering German: Pickeringfruchttaube Spanish: Dúcula gris
Other common names: Pickering's Imperial-pigeon

Carpophaga Pickeringii


, 1855,

Mangsi Islet, off north tip of Borneo


Closely related to D. pistrinaria, D. rosacea and D. whartoni. Validity of races has been questioned; geographical variation rather subtle, and perhaps within range of individual variation of species as a whole. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. p. pickeringii (Cassin, 1854) – islets off N & NE Borneo, and islets in Sulu Sea from Balabac and Cagayan SE to Sulu Is (S Philippines).
  • D. p. langhornei (Mearns, 1905) – West Bolod, East Bolod and Loran, in C Sulu Is (S Philippines).
  • D. p. palmasensis (Mearns, 1909) – Miangas I and Talaud Is (NE of Sulawesi).
  • Descriptive notes

    40 cm. Head light mauve or greyish pink with narrow white ring round eye and creamy white band at base of bill; neck, breast and underparts pale pinkish grey, pinkest on... read more


    Commonest call is a burry overslurred “rroow” or a similar bisyllabic “ro-rroow”. Also a low-... read more


    Lowland forest on small islands, including primary and tall secondary forest; also degraded monsoon... read more

    Food and feeding

    Presumably frugivorous; only definite record concerns feeding on young leaves. Usually seen singly or in pairs; sometimes associates with... read more


    Little information; a specimen with an egg was taken in Jan on Miangas; juvenile collected in Jul in Sabah.


    Variable abundance on some islands and occasional appearance on adjacent mainland coasts suggest... read more

    Status and conservation

    VULNERABLE. Locally distributed on small islets. Limited information available indicates that the species is in decline throughout its limited range, although it remains... read more

    Recommended citation

    Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M. & Boesman, P. (2018). Grey Imperial-pigeon (Ducula pickeringii). 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 19 July 2018).