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White-bellied Imperial Pigeon

Ducula forsteni

The White-bellied Imperial Pigeon, a majestic bird endemic to Indonesia, is a large pigeon with a long tail, boasting an average length of 42.5–51.5 cm and a weight of 510 g. The males are resplendent with their mainly green plumage, pale-grey heads, and bellies, while their vents are a rich chestnut, and their tails are adorned with a pale grey band. A striking red orbital ring encircles their eyes. Females share a similar appearance but are distinguished by darker grey areas in their plumage.

Identification Tips

When observing the White-bellied Imperial Pigeon, look for its dark green upperparts with a bronze-red gloss, particularly on the mantle. The head transitions from pale grey to white on the forehead and throat. The belly is white with a hint of pink or cream. The tail features a distinctive pale grey band, and the bird's iris is yellow or orange, complemented by a darker red or orange orbital ring.

Habitat

This species thrives in the lush primary forests, dense secondary forests, and secluded hill forests of Indonesia. It is a bird of elevation, commonly found from 150 to 2,200 meters above sea level, with a preference for heights between 800 and 1,600 meters.

Distribution

The White-bellied Imperial Pigeon graces the Indonesian islands of Sulawesi, Buton, Taliabu, Togian, and Peleng with its presence.

Behaviour

Typically seen alone or in pairs, this pigeon may also gather in small flocks near fruiting trees. It is most conspicuous in flight, soaring over the canopy, perched high in tall trees, or in smaller trees at the forest's edge. Its flight is characterized by deep, slow wingbeats.

Song & Calls

Before the break of dawn and after midday, the White-bellied Imperial Pigeon can be heard delivering its advertising call—a short, low-pitched "whuu-whooo….whuu-whooo," with the second note dropping in pitch and gaining emphasis.

Diet and Feeding

A frugivore, the White-bellied Imperial Pigeon feeds exclusively on fruit, often congregating in flocks at fruiting trees, particularly figs, where as many as 30 birds may be seen feasting together.

Conservation Status

The IUCN Red List categorizes the White-bellied Imperial Pigeon as Least Concern, thanks to its extensive range and stable population numbers. However, there is a note of caution as its numbers are believed to be in decline due to habitat destruction. It remains moderately common on Sulawesi and is seen less frequently on Taliabu.

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