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COLUMBIFORMES Pigeons and doves

The information presented here is identical to that contained in the fifth edition of the Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand (Checklist Committee 2022). To access a pdf version of the Checklist click here.

➤ Indicates a species (cf. subspecies)
Indicates a species (or other taxon) introduced to the New Zealand region

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Order COLUMBIFORMES: Pigeons and Doves

Suborder COLUMBAE: Pigeons and Doves

Family COLUMBIDAE Illiger: Pigeons and Doves

Columbini Illiger, 1811: Prodromus Syst. Mamm. Avium: 243 – Type genus Columba Linnaeus, 1758.

We follow Pereira et al. (2007), Dickinson & Remsen (2013), and Nowak et al. (2019) in recognising three subfamilies of pigeons, two of which occur in New Zealand. Genus sequence follows Dickinson & Remsen (2013), Clements et al. (2019), Handbook of the Birds of the World and BirdLife International (2020), and F. Gill et al. (2021).

Subfamily COLUMBINAE Illiger: Typical Pigeons

Columbini Illiger, 1811: Prodromus Syst. Mamm. Avium: 243 – Type genus Columba Linnaeus, 1758.

Genus *Columba Linnaeus

Columba Linnaeus, 1758: Syst. Nat., 10th edition 1: 162 – Type species (by subsequent designation) Columba oenas Linnaeus.

 *Columba livia Gmelin
Rock Pigeon | Kererū Aropari

Columba domestica β livia Gmelin, 1789: Syst. Nat., 13th edition 1(2): 769 – south Europe.

Columba livia Gmelin; Checklist Committee 1953, Checklist N.Z. Birds: 53.

Europe, North Africa, and west Asia. Domestic forms brought to New Zealand in the early days of European settlement have become feral in most cities and major towns. In rural areas, widespread, mainly in low-rainfall zones of Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough, Canterbury, and Otago (Higgins & Davies 1996; C. Robertson et al. 2007). It was a well-established, and numerous, breeding species on Norfolk Island by 1825 (Backhouse 1843: 257, 264).

Genus *Streptopelia Bonaparte

Streptopelia Bonaparte, 1855: Compt. Rend. Séa. Acad. Sci., Paris 40: 17 – Type species (by subsequent designation) Columba risoria Linnaeus = Streptopelia risoria (Linnaeus).

*Streptopelia risoria (Linnaeus)
Barbary Dove

Columba risoria Linnaeus, 1758: Syst. Nat., 10th edition 1: 165 – India.

Columbam roseogriseam Sundevall, 1857: Kungl. Svenska Vetenskapsakad. Handl. 2(1): 54 – Nubia, Sudan.

Turtur risorius (Linnaeus); Hutton 1871, Cat. Birds N.Z.: 64.

Streptopeliarisoria’ (Linnaeus); Goodwin 1970, Pigeons Doves World: 117.

Streptopelia roseogrisea (Sundevall); Checklist Committee 1990, Checklist Birds N.Z.: 173.

Streptopeliarisoria’ (Linnaeus); Higgins & Davies 1996, HANZAB 3: 864.

Streptopelia risoria (Linnaeus); ICZN 2008, Bull. Zool. Nomenclature 65(4): 327.

North Africa, Arabian Peninsula (Higgins & Davies 1996). This is the domesticated form, also known as ring dove. In New Zealand: first introduced to Nelson, in 1867, and later to Canterbury and Dunedin (Thomson 1922). Since about 1970, there have been feral populations at various places in the North Island from Northland to the Wairarapa. Presently in isolated locations, locally common about Kerikeri, Auckland, and in the Hawke’s Bay (C. Robertson et al. 2007). The Masterton population established in the 1970s (Stidolph 1974b) did not persist (Heather & Robertson 1996). There were a few South Island sightings 1999–2004 (C. Robertson et al. 2007).
The name S. risoria has priority over S. roseogrisea (ICZN 2008).

 *Streptopelia chinensis (Scopoli)
Spotted Dove

Columba chinensis Scopoli, 1786: Delic. Flor. Faun. insubr. 2: 94 – Canton, China.

South-east Asia from India to south China and Indonesia (Higgins & Davies 1996). Introduced to Australia, New Zealand, New Britain, Fiji, Hawai’i, California, and Mauritius (Long 1981; Higgins & Davies 1996). Five subspecies.

*Streptopelia chinensis tigrina (Temminck)
Spotted Dove

Columba Tigrina Temminck, 1810: in P. Knip & J.C. Temminck, Les Pigeons, les Colombes: 94, pl. 43 – Java and Timor, Indonesia.

Turtur tigrinus minor Parrot, 1907: Abh. Kl. Bayer Akad. Wiss. 24(1): 275 – Sumatra, Indonesia.

Streptopelia chinensis tigrina (Temminck); Checklist Committee 1953, Checklist N.Z. Birds: 53.

Bangladesh, Burma, South-east Asia. A common cage-bird introduced to New Britain, Fiji, and parts of Australia. Feral in Auckland since the 1920s, and steadily expanding its range. Now firmly established in the greater Auckland area from Warkworth to Firth of Thames, and in the Whangarei and Bay of Plenty areas south to Taupo (Heather & Robertson 1996; C. Robertson et al. 2007).

Subfamily RAPHINAE Wetmore: Fruit Doves

Raphidae Wetmore, 1930: Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus 76(24): 5 – Type genus Raphus Brisson, 1760.

Genus Ptilinopus Swainson

Ptilinopus Swainson, 1825: Zoological Journ. 1: 473 – Type species (by monotypy) Ptilinopus purpuratus var. regina Swainson.

Lamprotreron Bonaparte, 1854: Consp. Gen. Avium 2: 17 – Type species (by original designation) Columba superba Temminck.

Reginopus Mathews, 1913: Austral Avian Rec. 2: 73 – Type species (by original designation) Ptilinopus ewingii Gould.

Ptilinopus regina Swainson
Rose-crowned Fruit-dove

Ptilinopus purpuratus var. regina Swainson, 1825: Zoological Journ. 1: 474 – Australasia, restricted to New South Wales, Australia (fide Condon 1975, Checklist Birds Australia 1: 162).

Ptilinopus swainsonii Gould, 1842: Birds of Australia 5: text to pl. 55 – Clarence River, New South Wales, Australia.

Ptilinopus regina yorki Mathews, 1922: Austral Avian Rec. 5: 1 – Cape York, Queensland, Australia.

Ptilinopus regina regina Swainson; Condon 1975, Checklist Birds Australia 1: 162.

Ptilinopus regina Swainson; Hermes et al. 1986, Notornis 33: 149.

Ptilinopus (Ptilinopus) regina regina Swainson; Schodde 1997, Zool. Cat. Australia 37.2: 57.

Australia: islands in Torres Strait, and from Cape York to northern New South Wales, including islands off east Queensland (Higgins & Davies 1996). Migratory or nomadic. One record from New Zealand (Taranaki Bight, Aug. 2019; Miskelly 2020b). One record from Norfolk Island (Hermes et al. 1986).

Genus Hemiphaga Bonaparte

Hemiphaga Bonaparte, 1854: Compt. Rend. Séa. Acad. Sci., Paris 39: 1076 – Type species (by original designation) Columba novaeseelandiae Gmelin = Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae (Gmelin).

Endemic to the New Zealand region, plus Norfolk Island. Two extant New Zealand species (H. novaeseelandiae and H. chathamensis). The Norfolk Island pigeon (H. spadicea) became extinct about 1839 (N. Taylor 1966; Checklist Committee 2010).

Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae (Gmelin)
Kererū | New Zealand Pigeon

Columba novae Seelandiae Gmelin, 1789: Syst. Nat., 13th edition 1(2): 773. Based on the “New-Zealand Pigeon” of Latham 1783, Gen. Synop. Birds 2(2): 640 – Dusky Sound, Fiordland.

Columba zealandica Latham, 1790: Index Ornith. 2: 603 – New Zealand.

Columba argetraea J.R. Forster, 1794: Mag. merkwürdigen neuen Reise Beschreibungen 11(3): 313, footnote – New Zealand and Norfolk Island, restricted to Dusky Sound, Fiordland (fide Steinheimer et al. 2008, Notornis 55(1): 35).

Columba argetraea J.R. Forster, 1844: in M.H.C. Lichtenstein, Descrip. Animalium: 80 – South Island. Junior primary homonym of Columba argetraea J.R. Forster, 1794.

Hemiphaga novae-zealandiae (Gmelin); Bonaparte, 1854: Compt. Rend. Séa. Acad. Sci., Paris 39: 1077. Unjustified emendation.

Columba Novae-Zealandiae Gmelin; Ellman 1861, Zoologist 19: 7467. Unjustified emendation.

Carpophaga Novae Zelandiae Gmelin [sic]; Anon. 1870, Cat. Colonial Mus.: 74. Unjustified emendation.

Carpophaga novae zealandiae (Gmelin); Buller 1872 (Dec.), History of the Birds of N.Z., 1st edition (part 3): 157. Unjustified emendation.

Carpophaga Novae Zealandiae (Gmelin); Buller 1876, Trans. Proc. N.Z. Inst. 8: 196. Unjustified emendation.

Carpophaga novae-zealandiae (Gmelin); Travers 1883, Trans. Proc. N.Z. Inst. 15: 186. Unjustified emendation.

Hemiphaga novae-seelandiae (Gmelin); Mathews 1930, Emu 29: 279.

Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae novaeseelandiae (Gmelin); Checklist Committee 1953, Checklist N.Z. Birds: 53.

Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae (Gmelin); Holdaway, Worthy & Tennyson 2001, New Zealand Journ. Zool. 28(2): 134, 179.

New Zealand: North and South Islands, Stewart Island / Rakiura, and most of the large offshore islands. Common and widespread in native forests and remnants throughout range, including suburban areas (Higgins & Davies 1996; C. Robertson et al. 2007). Holocene remains and midden records from numerous sites (Worthy & Holdaway 2002). A 19th Century report of large pigeons on Raoul Island, Kermadec Islands / Rangitāhua (Cheeseman 1891), was supported by the discovery of a bone in Polynesian middens, which was referred to H. novaeseelandiae (Worthy & Brassey 2000).

Hemiphaga chathamensis (Rothschild)
Parea | Chatham Island Pigeon

Carpophaga chathamensis Rothschild, 1891: Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1891 (21): 312, pl. 28 – Chatham Island.

Carpophaga chathamica Forbes, 1892: Nature 46: 252 – Chatham Islands.

Carpophaga chathamiensis Rothschild; Buller 1896, Trans. Proc. N.Z. Inst. 28: 348. Unjustified emendation.

Hemiphaga chathamensis (Rothschild); Buller 1905, Suppl. Birds N.Z. 1: 41.

Hemiphaga Chathamensis (Rothschild); Hamilton 1909, Hand-list Birds New Zealand: 3.

Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae chathamensis (Rothschild); Checklist Committee 1953, Checklist N.Z. Birds: 53.

Chatham Islands: originally on Chatham, Mangere, and Pitt Islands, but now breeding only on Chatham Island (Aikman & Miskelly 2004). Common as Holocene remains on Chatham, Mangere, and Pitt Islands (Millener 1999; Tennyson & Millener 1994). Abundant in middens on Chatham Island (Sutton & Marshall 1977; Marshall et al. 1987). Eagle et al. (2005) reported a pigeon (cf. Hemiphaga) bone from the Pliocene of the Chatham Islands; however, Tennyson (2010) considered it more likely to be a Holocene-aged specimen (i.e. of Hemiphaga chathamensis). Differences in plumage and skeletal morphology, compared to mainland birds, support the species status of the Chatham Islands population (Higgins & Davies 1996; Millener & Powlesland 2001).