Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Tongan Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus porphyraceus)


French: Ptilope de Clémentine German: Purpurscheitel-Fruchttaube Spanish: Tilopo de Tonga
Other common names: Crimson-crowned Fruit-dove, Purple-capped Fruit-dove

Columba porphyracea


, 1821,

Tongatapu, Tonga


Belongs to the large species-group centred on P. purpuratus (which see); within this, forms part of a subgroup that also includes P. pelewensis, P. richardsii, P. roseicapilla, P. ponapensis, P. hernsheimi, P. greyi and P. fasciatus. In recent treatments, has been considered conspecific with P. ponapensis, P. hernsheimi and P. fasciatus, but all four taxa are distinctive enough to be regarded as full species. Differs from P. ponapensis in having black blurry bar on mid-belly with mid-green upper belly patch vs broad brown-tinged black blurry patch covering same area (2); more yellow on lower belly patch (2); green-tipped grey vs yellowish-white terminal tailbar (2); greyer, less yellow-shot breast, mantle and hindcrown (ns[1]); slightly longer wing (effect size 1.155, score 1). Differs from P. hernsheimi in having blurry black bar on mid-belly (2); more yellow on lower belly patch (1); green-tipped grey vs bright yellow terminal tailbar (3); larger size (effect size for bill 3.94, score 2). Differs from P. fasciatus in having no dull rust-brown upper belly patch (3); no rust tinge to grass-green upper belly and clear pale yellow undertail (2); grey- vs yellowish-tipped tail (2); more yellow on lower belly patch (ns[1]); strong emerald-green subterminal tips of tertials (ns[1]); longer bill (effect size 1.205, score 1). Polytypic P. porphyraceus sometimes considered conspecific with P. pelewensis. Proposed race graeffei (Wallis and Futuna) and birds on Niuafo’ou (N Tonga) are probably hybrid populations of present species × P. fasciatus. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Small islands of Fiji (Vatulele, Makogai, Wakaya, Yadua, Lau group), Tonga and Niue. Also Wallis and Futuna, and Niuafo’ou (Tonga), where populations are probably hybrid.

Descriptive notes

22–24 cm; 85·4–124 g. Upperparts, wings and tail are dark green; head, neck and breast are light greenish grey, with a darker green patch of streaking on... read more


Calls all day (and often by night), at least in parts of range. On Alofi (Niue), the territorial... read more


An adaptable species, found in primary rainforest, mangroves, atoll strand, scrub and agroforest.... read more

Food and feeding

Completely frugivorous; with the exception of banyans (Ficus, Moraceae), most favoured food plants are edge or understorey trees... read more


Probably breeds year-round; on 'Eua (Tonga), juveniles seen in Jan–Mar, Jul, Aug and Oct. Nest is a fragile platform of twigs and... read more


Probably sedentary; rarely seen making long-distance flights. Flight swift and direct; may fly... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to abundant throughout its range but absent from many of the larger islands within the Fijian archipelago, perhaps because of... read more

Recommended citation

Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Tongan Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus porphyraceus). 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 21 January 2020).