Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Torresian Imperial-pigeon (Ducula spilorrhoa)


French: Carpophage argenté German: Kaiserfruchttaube Spanish: Dúcula australiana
Other common names: Australian Pied Imperial-pigeon

Carpophaga spilorrhoa

G. R. Gray

, 1858,

Aru Islands


Clearly very closely related to D. bicolor (which see), D. subflavescens and D. luctuosa; the notion that yellow bill is a constant character of present species is not borne out by museum material, which describes bills as “blue slate”, “slate-blue”, “greenish-slate, yellow tip”, “olive-yellow”, “yellow”, “yellow, cere battleship grey”, etc., suggesting perhaps an age-related or seasonal condition. Often united with D. subflavescens but differs on account of its white vs yellowish plumage (3), grey-tinged vs black primary underwing-coverts (2), and narrower black tips of outer tail (2)#R. Proposed races include tarara (SC New Guinea) and melvillensis (Melville I) but these forms are confused by intergradation. Proposed form constans (Kimberley region of NW Australia) has even been considered a separate species, but is not widely accepted; herein provisionally not recognized at any level, pending further work. Monotypic.


Aru Is, and coastal New Guinea (penetrating inland along some major rivers) and islands in Geelvink Bay E to D’Entrecasteaux Archipelago, Trobriand Is, Woodlark Is and Louisiade Archipelago, then S to N & NE Australia (Kimberley region and NW Northern Territory E to N & C Cape York Peninsula, and S down E Queensland coast to Aquila I, near Carmila).

Descriptive notes

38–44 cm; 378–550 g. General plumage white, usually with creamy-white or grey suffusion, especially on head and neck; outerwing and secondaries black, with silver... read more


Not especially vocal. A low, hollow, low-pitched, downslurred “hoooo” or bisyllabic “hoo-hoooo”,... read more


Found in a variety of forested habitats, including Eucalyptus, Melaleuca and... read more

Food and feeding

Frugivorous, feeding on fruit from a variety of trees, vines and shrubs, taken arboreally. Diet well studied in Queensland and S New Guinea... read more


Breeding more seasonal than in most tropical pigeons: in Queensland and Northern Territory, season extends late Aug to Jan, with pronounced... read more


Australian population generally migratory, spending non-breeding season in New Guinea (confirmed... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Species remains common in New Guinea; also in N Queensland, where total number of nesting colonies along the coast was estimated as 166 in 1990; of... read more

Recommended citation

Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Torresian Imperial-pigeon (Ducula spilorrhoa). 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 23 January 2019).