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Green Imperial Pigeon - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies aenea. Photo © by Romy Ocon
Subic rainforest, Zambales province, Philippines, March 2006

Includes: Paulina's Imperial Pigeon / Chestnut-naped Imperial Pigeon

Ducula aenea


Subspecies paulina
Photo © by julienl
Tangkoko NP, Sulawesi, Indonesia, May 2018

40–47 cm (15¾-18½ in) A large, grey pigeon

  • upperparts iridescent green with bluish to bronzish tinge
  • Primaries, outer secondaries and tail feathers dark grey with some dark green iridescence
  • head, neck and upper mantle grey
  • hind neck varies with subspecies: may be grey or buff to rufous-orange or maroon
  • undertail-coverts dark chestnut
  • tail unbarred (unlike Mountain Imperial Pigeon)

Juveniles are generally duller. Subspecies vary in coloration.

Similar Species

Hard to tell apart from Columba Pigeons in flight, but has a longer tail and is heavy-bodied.


Photo © by Romy Ocon
Subspecies aenea. Subic Bay, Olongapo City, Philippines, February 2005

South-east Asia. Most of the Indian Peninsula, southern Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, very localised in Singapore, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Philippines.

Common and widespread in most of its range.


Forms a species group with White-eyed Imperial Pigeon, Ducula perspicillata and Blue-tailed Imperial Pigeon, Ducula concinna.

Nicobar Imperial Pigeon and Enggano Imperial Pigeon were formerly treated as subspecies of this species. Subspecies paulina may be elevated as "Paulina's Imperial Pigeon" or "Chestnut-naped Imperial Pigeon", D. paulina.


Racial variation not very clear, further study needed. Authorities accept 11 to 20 subspecies.

Clements recognises the following subspecies [1]:

  • D. a. sylvatica: northern India east to southeastern China (including Hainan Island), southern Thailand and southern Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam
  • D. a. pusilla: South India and Sri Lanka
  • D. a. andamanica: Andaman Islands
  • D. a. consobrina: Islands off western Sumatra (Simeulue south to the Mentawai islands)
  • D. a. polia: Thai-Malay Peninsula, the Greater Sunda Islands, and the Lesser Sunda Islands (Lombok east to Alor)
  • D. a. palawanensis : Palawan, adjacent south Philippines and Banggai Islands
  • D. a. fugaensis: northern Philippines (Calayan, Camiguin Norte and Fuga)
  • D. a. aenea: Philippines (except for northern Luzon and associated islands and the southwestern islands)
  • D. a. intermedia: Sangihe and Talaud island
  • D. a. nuchalis: Northern Luzon (north Philippines)
  • D. a. paulina (syn. pallidinucha, sulana): "Paulina's Imperial Pigeon". Sulawesi and associated islands, including Togian, Banggai, and Sula islands


Primary and secondary forest, mangroves, open country with some trees. Usually in the lowlands only occasionally reported up to 600m, in Indonesia up to 1000m.


Often in small flocks, roosting together, sometimes traditional roosting sites.


Breeding times vary. In India mostly April and May, in Java in January, in Sumatra recorded to breed in all months. Nest is a platform with twigs. Lays 1 egg.


A frugivorous species, feeding on fruit, berries, wild figs, nutmeg or buds of mangroves.


Resident, some movements may be linked with fruiting of trees.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2023. IOC World Bird List (v 13.1)_red. Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.13.1. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/

Recommended Citation

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