Black imperial pigeon

Black imperial pigeon

Black imperial pigeon, Bismarck imperial pigeon

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Ducula melanochroa

The black imperial pigeon (Ducula melanochroa ), also known as the Bismarck imperial pigeon, is a species of bird in the family Columbidae. It is endemic to the Bismarck Archipelago where it lives in forests.


The black imperial pigeon is a large, heavy imperial pigeon with a long tail, with a length of 38–43 cm (15–17 in) and weighing 661–665 g (23.3–23.5 oz). Both sexes are similar. It is mainly slaty-black, with silver fringes on the wing coverts (flight feathers) and back that make a scaled pattern. The undertail coverts are dark chestnut while the underside of the tail is grey. The iris is red, the bill is blue-grey with a black tip, and the feet are dark reddish. Juveniles are similar to adults, but have paler chestnut on the undertail coverts.

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Nicobar pigeons in flight may be confused with black imperial pigeons, but have longer wings, a shorter tail, and a longer, thinner-necked appearance.

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Biogeographical realms

The black imperial pigeon is endemic to the Bismarck Archipelago, where it is found on the islands of Umboi, New Britain, Watom, Duke of York, and New Ireland. It mainly inhabits forests in hills and mountains, but is also seasonally found in lowland forest on New Britain. It is found up to elevations of 150–1,850 m (490–6,070 ft) on New Britain, from 300–700 m (980–2,300 ft) on Umboi, and from 700–1,800 m (2,300–5,900 ft) on New Ireland.


Diet and Nutrition

The black imperial pigeon is frugivorous and has been observed feeding on fruit with diameters between 15–35 mm (0.59–1.38 in) and wild figs. Foraging occurs in the canopy and is most often done alone or in small flocks, although flocks with as many as 40 birds may be seen on Ficus trees.

Mating Habits

The only known black imperial pigeon nest was found in January and had a diameter of 23 cm (9.1 in). It was made entirely out of twigs and was placed at a height of around 4 m (13 ft) between two branches on a mossy tree. It contained a single white egg.


Population number

The black imperial pigeon is listed as being of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on the IUCN Red List due to a sufficiently large range and lack of sufficient population decline. However, its population is thought to be declining due to habitat destruction.


1. Black imperial pigeon Wikipedia article -
2. Black imperial pigeon on The IUCN Red List site -

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