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GALLERIES > BIRDS > COLUMBIFORMES > COLUMBIDAE > CHOISEUL PIGEON [Microgoura meeki]


Choiseul Pigeon Picture
 
 

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SPECIES INFO

The Choiseul Crested Pigeon (Microgoura meeki) is a presumedly extinct pigeon which was only known on the Solomon island of Choiseul in the Pacific. This species was first described by Walter Rothschild in 1904 and named in honour of Albert Stewart Meek. The Choiseul islanders called that species kukuru-ni-lua which means ground pigeon. There is a painting by John Gerrard Keulemans in the American Museum of Natural History

Description

This species was one of the most remarkable pigeon species in the world. It had a length of approximately 30 cm, which resembles the size of a chicken. On the top of the head was a dark bluish crest similar to the Crowned Pigeons of Papua New Guinea. The forehead and the front of the face were black, the rest of the head was sparsely pinnate with a reddish hue. Mantle and breast had a dark blueish colour with a brown tinge on the lower back.

The wings and the rump were olive brown. The tail was dark brown with a purple hue. The abdomen had a chestnut coloured tone. The upper side of the bill was black, the lower side red. The legs were purplish red. It is not known whether there were differences between the sexes.

Extinction

In 1904 six specimens were shot by Albert Stewart Meek, a bird collector for Lord Walter Rothschild and brought to the Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum at Tring. An egg was also collected.

Because of Rothschild's financial difficulties, 5 skins were sold to the American Museum of Natural History in New York. On further expeditions in 1927 and 1929 no specimens were found. It is assumed that the Choiseul Crested Pigeon was not only a victim of human hunters but also by feral cats and dogs not native to the islands.





                                     



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