Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Knob-billed Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus insolitus)


French: Ptilope casqué German: Knopffruchttaube Spanish: Tilopo insólito

Ptilopus insolitus


, 1863,

New Caledonia; error = New Ireland


Closely related to P. iozonus; these two may form a species-group with P. hyogastrus and P. granulifrons, and perhaps also P. melanospilus and P. nainus; presumably part of the group centred on P. tannensis (which see). St Matthias race inferior is considerably smaller than nominate and differs in having russet-brown feathering around grey carpal patch; may warrant treatment as separate species, but museum sample size is rather small, and the possibility that the variation is clinal needs to be examined. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. i. inferior E. J. O. Hartert, 1924 – Mussau and Emira, in St Matthias Group (N Bismarck Archipelago).
  • P. i. insolitus Schlegel, 1863 – Bismarck Archipelago from New Hanover, Djaul, New Ireland, and island groups of Tabar, Lihir and Feni, S through Watom and Duke of York I to New Britain and Lolobau, and W through Sakar, Umboi, Tolokiwa and Long I to Crown I.
  • Descriptive notes

    22–24 cm; 115–144 g. Closely resembles P. iozonus, but has greatly enlarged red cere, forming a knob on front of head; also, spots on inner edge of wing... read more


    Not well documented. Advertising call is a fairly high-pitched, four-note rhythmic phrase “whooOOoo... read more


    Occupies variety of forest habitats, including forest edge and disturbed areas, and sometimes the... read more

    Food and feeding

    Frugivorous; no detailed information available on diet, but known to eat figs. Often congregates in fruiting trees.


    Probably breeds throughout the year. Nest typical of genus, a slight platform of twigs, placed in a tree or shrub with thick foliage. Lays... read more


    No information.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Reported to be common throughout most of its range, although status on many small islands very poorly known; seems to be less common... read more

    Recommended citation

    Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Boesman, P. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Knob-billed Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus insolitus). 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 3 April 2020).