Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Purple-tailed Imperial-pigeon (Ducula rufigaster)


French: Carpophage à ventre roux German: Rostbauch-Fruchttaube Spanish: Dúcula ventrirrufa
Other common names: Rufous-breasted Imperial-pigeon

Columba rufigaster

Quoy and Gaimard

, 1830,

Manokwari, New Guinea


Closely related to D. basilica, D. obiensis and D. finschii, and all four sometimes considered conspecific. Geographical variation not well marked, and possibly clinal; proposed race pallida (SW & S New Guinea from Teluk Etna E to Fly R) inseparable from nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. r. rufigaster (Quoy & Gaimard, 1830) – W Papuan Is, and lowlands of Vogelkop and S New Guinea E to Orangerie Bay.
  • D. r. uropygialis Stresemann & Paludan, 1932 – Yapen I and N & SE New Guinea.
  • Descriptive notes

    33–39 cm; 414–582 g. Rather plump, with shorter wings and tail than many other Ducula species; head and foreneck pale mauve-pink shading to rich golden... read more


    Diagnostic. Two knocks are followed by a mournful, medium-pitched, prolonged note that quickly... read more


    Forests and sometimes forest edge; primarily in lowlands and foothills up to 600 m, but locally up... read more

    Food and feeding

    Frugivorous; in a study near Brown R, SE Papua New Guinea, the most important food plant families were palms (Arecaceae), nutmegs (... read more


    No information available.


    No information. Flies at canopy or lower canopy level; not seen in extended flights above the... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Poorly known; in New Guinea reported to be fairly common, at least locally, but secretive and not often seen. Research required.

    Recommended citation

    Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Purple-tailed Imperial-pigeon (Ducula rufigaster). 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 14 December 2019).