Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Critically Endangered

Polynesian Ground-dove (Alopecoenas erythropterus)


French: Gallicolombe érythroptère German: Tahititaube Spanish: Paloma perdiz de Tuamotu
Other common names: Tuamotu Ground-dove

Columba erythroptera

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Moorea, Society Islands


Closely related to A. jobiensis, A. kubaryi and A. xanthonurus; this group also has somewhat more distant affinities with A. sanctaecrucis, A. stairi and †A. salamonis. Birds from Hao, Hiti and probably Tahanea sometimes accorded subspecific recognition as race albicollis on grounds of all-white head and neck of males, but this may be merely a colour variant; in past, name pectoralis used for white-headed birds, but this name suppressed as based on female specimens from Arakita, which appear inseparable from those elsewhere in range; in addition, all males in population recently discovered on Rangiroa Atoll (N Tuamotus) are grey-naped (previously only all-white-headed males had been recorded in this part of archipelago), and taxonomic status of these is therefore unclear. Internal taxonomy of species requires reassessment. Treated as monotypic.


Tuamotu Archipelago: known to survive only on uninhabited atolls. Latest records in NW on Rangiroa (Palliser Is) and in SE on Tenararo, Vahanga, Morane and Tenarunga (Acteon Group)#R. Formerly more widespread through Tuamotus (e.g. Aratika, Vanavana, Tenarunga), and occurred also on Moorea and Tahiti, in Society Is.

Descriptive notes

25 cm. Male very similar to A. kubaryi, having white forehead, cheeks, throat and breast; grey of crown, nape and auricular stripe not as dark; some males have all-... read more


Advertising call is a repeated single hoarse rolling coo of c. 0·6 seconds duration on an almost... read more


Little information. In past, presumably found in forest habitat on Tahiti and Moorea; currently... read more

Food and feeding

The species has a varied diet, including caterpillars and other insects, seeds, green leaves, buds and fruit. Limited information from the... read more


Virtually no information is available. The only nest found was in a Pandanus tree. The egg is pale blue, speckled with... read more


No information.

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. The global population is estimated at about 200 individuals, fragmented into extremely small subpopulations, on tiny wooded islets. The species... read more

Recommended citation

Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Christie, D.A., Kirwan, G.M., Boesman, P. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Polynesian Ground-dove (Alopecoenas erythropterus). 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 10 December 2019).