Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Mackinlay's Cuckoo-dove (Macropygia mackinlayi)


French: Phasianelle de Mackinlay German: Mackinlaytaube Spanish: Tórtola cuco de Mackinlay
Other common names: Spot-breasted Cuckoo-dove

Macropygia mackinlayi

E. P. Ramsay

, 1878,

Tanna Island


Closely related to M. ruficeps and M. nigrirostris. Birds of Karkar I previously separated as race krakari [sic], but purported differences not supported by examination of skins#R; those of Bismarck Archipelago previously separated as race goodsoni#R. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. m. arossi Tristram, 1879 – Karkar I (off NE New Guinea), Admiralty and St Matthias Is, Squally, Watom (off NE New Britain) and Witu Is, Talasea district of WC New Britain, and Solomon Is.
  • M. m. troughtoni Kinghorn, 1937 – Santa Cruz Is.
  • M. m. mackinlayi E. P. Ramsay, 1878 – Vanuatu.
  • Descriptive notes

    27–31 cm; 87 g. Polymorphic in nominate race, with grey and rufous morphs. Rufous morph male is deep reddish brown all over, darkest on upperparts but lighter on head... read more


    A melodious, mellow, repeated, disyllabic ‘vo ku’, the first syllable higher-pitched than... read more


    Inhabits second growth, clearings, gardens and disturbed areas in primary forest; occurs at middle... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on seeds and small fruits including, in Vanuatu, those of the introduced chilli bush (Capsicum fretescens) and Lantana... read more


    Season Sept–Feb in Vanuatu. Nest is saucer-shaped platform of the typical pigeon structure in a palm, tree-fern, vine-tangle or... read more


    Suspected of being merely a vagrant to New Britain, where it is rare; also one sight record from... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Considered to be fairly common on Karkar I; widespread but only locally common through the Solomons, although found to be common to abundant on... read more

    Recommended citation

    Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Mackinlay's Cuckoo-dove (Macropygia mackinlayi). 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 12 December 2019).