Cream-bellied Fruit-dove Ramphiculus merrilli


Justification of Red List Category
Although formerly thought to be scarce, this species has been found to be locally common and may just be greatly overlooked; however habitat loss and hunting have undoubtedly caused this species to decline moderately rapidly, and it is therefore listed as Near Threatened.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as locally and generally rare although locally common in the Sierra Madre and on Patnanungan island (Gibbs et al. 2001).

Trend justification
The species is suspected to be declining at a slow to moderate rate, owing to hunting and habitat loss.

Distribution and population

Ramphiculus merrilli is endemic to Luzon and to two of its satellites, Polillo and Catanduanes, Philippines, where it occurs as two races, faustinoi north of Quiriñon and nominate merrilli south of Quiriñon (Collar et al. 1999). Despite being considered rare, nomadic and under pressure from hunting, the total number of localities for the species is at least 24 and it appears to be fairly common, even in ultrabasic forest, and in 1996 it was found to be abundant on Patnanungan island in the Polillo group. It may prove to be substantially overlooked.


This frugivorous species is found chiefly in primary and selectively logged forest up to 1,300 m in the Sierra Madre (Gibbs et al. 2001). One nest was found in May 1997 and contained a single egg (Gibbs et al. 2001).


Habitat destruction (presumably through logging and agricultural expansion) and hunting pressure are substantial threats.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to assess population size. Regularly monitor at certain sites throughout its range to determine population trends. Control hunting where possible, perhaps using awareness campaigns. Protect significant areas of suitable primary forest across its range.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Mahood, S. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Ramphiculus merrilli. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/05/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/05/2020.