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

    37–40 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,... read more


    Commonest call is a burry overslurred “rroow” given in series of typically up to seven notes,... 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 records concern feeding on young leaves, as well as fruits of Ficus and Cananga odorata... read more


    Few data; a specimen with an egg was taken in Jan on Miangas; juvenile collected in Jul in Sabah and perhaps breeding in Aug on Borneo.


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

    Status and conservation

    VULNERABLE. The global population is estimated at 2500–10,000 individuals. Locally distributed on small islets, where it favours primary forest. There are post-1980... read more

    Recommended citation

    Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Boesman, P. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). 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 February 2020).