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Nilgiri imperial-pigeon

   ›      ›   Nilgiri imperial-pigeon - Ducula cuprea

The Nilgiri imperial-pigeon (Ducula cuprea) belongs to the family of doves and pigeons, the Columbidae.

The Nilgiri imperial-pigeon species is endemic to southwest India. These imperial-pigeon species were formerly considered conspecific with the mountain imperial-pigeon (Ducula badia). These birds are monotypic species.
Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Nilgiri Imperial-pigeon Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The Nilgiri imperial-pigeon (Ducula cuprea) is a large imperial-pigeon, measuring 40 to 50 cm in length.

The Nilgiri imperial-pigeon has pale grayish pink mantle and head. The upperparts are dark purple brown. The underparts are pale grayish-pink and the belly region is rusty pink. The face and ear-coverts are more pinkish.

The bill is strong, stout and gray in color. The cere is pinkish white. The irises are reddish. The legs and feet are grayish pink. The call of this imperial-pigeon is a booming "huk-hoo hoo" sound.
Indian birds - Photo of Nilgiri imperial pigeon - Ducula cuprea
1.Birds of India - Photo of Nilgiri imperial pigeon - Ducula cuprea by Seshadri.K.S


Birds of India - Photo of Nilgiri imperial pigeon - Ducula cuprea
2.Indian birds - Photo of Nilgiri imperial pigeon - Ducula cuprea by nbu2012

Indian birds - Photo of Nilgiri imperial pigeon - Ducula cuprea
3.Birds of India - Photo of Nilgiri imperial pigeon - Ducula cuprea by nbu2012

Origin, geographical range and distribution

These Nilgiri imperial-pigeon species are endemic to India. They are distributed in the Western Ghats of south west India. They occur in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and southern most Maharashtra.

Ecosystem and habitat

These Nilgiri imperial-pigeon species have high forest dependence. They normally occur in altitudes from 0 to 2000 meters.

The natural ecosystems and habitats of these species include tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests, evergreen forests, tropical and subtropical moist montane forests and dense deciduous forests.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these Nilgiri imperial-pigeon species consists mainly of fruits. Wild fruits, berries, figs and wild nutmegs are their primary food.

These imperial-pigeons are highly arboreal. The fruits are plucked and swallowed whole. Occasionally they go to the ground to drink. They are known to visit salt-licks.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these Nilgiri imperial-pigeon species is from January to May (Rasmussen and Anderton 2005).

These imperial-pigeon species are monogamous. The nesting sites include fork and branches of trees. The nest is a flimsy platform built with sticks and twigs.

The clutch contains one or two eggs. Both the parents incubate the eggs. The nestlings are fed with crop milk, a thick cheesy substance, derived from sloughed off squamous cells from the crop of both male and female birds.

Migration and movement patterns

These imperial-pigeon species are non-migratory resident birds. The populations in higher altitudes descent to lower levels in winter.

Post breeding, the juveniles may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. Within their range they may make local movements for feeding and breeding.

Nilgiri imperial-pigeon - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Ducula cuprea
  • Species author: (Jerdon, 1840)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Carpophaga cuprea Jerdon, 1840
  • Family: Columbidae › Columbiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Nilgiri imperial-pigeon, Chinese: 皇鸠, French: Carpophage des Nilgiri, German: Nilgirifruchttaube, Spanish: Dúcula de las Nilgiri, Russian: Горный плодоядный голубь, Japanese: ヤマミカドバト
  • Other names: Nilgiri Imperial-pigeon
  • Distribution:endemic to southwest India
  • Diet and feeding habits: fruits, berries, figs, nutmegs
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the Nilgiri imperial-pigeon (Ducula cuprea) has not been quantified. The overall population trend of the species is considered to be decreasing.

In most of its range, this imperial-pigeon species is reported as not uncommon. The generation length is 6.6 years. Its distribution size is about 108,000 sq.km.

Habitat alteration, fragmentation and destruction, deforestation, human intrusions and disturbance and capture for pet-trade are the main threats that are endangering the survival of these species.

IUCN and CITES status

The Nilgiri imperial-pigeon (Ducula cuprea) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable, either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the imperial-pigeon species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the Nilgiri imperial-pigeon (Ducula cuprea).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Ducula cuprea
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Columbiformes
Family:Columbidae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Ducula
Species:D. cuprea
Binomial name:Ducula cuprea
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The Nilgiri imperial-pigeon (Ducula cuprea) was earlier considered conspecific with the mountain imperial-pigeon (Ducula badia).
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1.Nilgiri imperial pigeon photo source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mountain_Imperial_Pigeon.jpg (cropped)
Author: Seshadri.K.S | License: CC BY-SA 3.0 as on 5/22/18
2.Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/89378621@N06/8241741664/ (cropped)
Author: nbu2012 | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 5/22/18
3.Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/89378621@N06/8241739646/ (cropped)
Author: nbu2012 | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 5/22/18
Current topic in Birds of India: Nilgiri imperial pigeon - Ducula cuprea with photos.
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