Nicobar Pigeon Caloenas nicobarica


Justification of Red List Category
This species is classified as Near Threatened because throughout its wide range it is thought to be declining as a result of capture for food and the pet trade, habitat destruction and predation by introduced mammals.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as generally scarce to rare, although locally commoner on smaller islets (Gibbs et al. 2001).

Trend justification
The species is suspected to be declining at a moderately rapid rate, owing to habitat destruction, trapping for food and the pet trade as well as the effects of introduced predators.

Distribution and population

Caloenas nicobarica is a small island specialist, it occurs on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India, Mergui archipelago (Myeik Kyunzu), Myanmar, islands off south-west peninsular Thailand, islands around Peninsular Malaysia, islands off southern Cambodia and Vietnam, islands around Sumatra, Wallacea and Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), Indonesia, possibly also Timor-Leste, many islands in the Philippines, islands in Papua New Guinea and throughout the Solomon Islands, plus Palau (race pelewensis). Generally scarce throughout its range, it is most abundant on the smallest, least disturbed islands. The distinctive race pelewensis was thought to still number up to 1,000 birds in 1985.



It normally breeds, often in dense colonies, on extremely small, wooded offshore islands and forages in situ or on adjacent mainland (or larger island) areas up to at least 500 m. It prefers uninhabited and remote islets with original forest vegetation, though these must be close enough to large areas of lowland rainforest which it requires for foraging. Nests in trees and shrubs and has a clutch size of one (Pratt and Beehler 2015).


Trapping for food, the pet trade and perhaps for their gizzard-stones is a serious threat. The clearance of small islands for plantations and the adjacent areas of lowland forest which it requires for foraging must have reduced numbers. Predation by rats Rattus spp., cats and other alien predators at nesting grounds can affect large numbers of birds due to the colonial nature of the species.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Research population size and trends. Protect known breeding islands from clearance for plantations. Preserve areas of lowland forest close to breeding islands. Educate people who live close to breeding islands to prevent trapping for food and the pet trade. Eradicate rats Rattus spp., cats and other alien predators on particularly important breeding islands. Prevent further introductions of alien predators to breeding islands.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Derhé, M., Mahood, S., North, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Caloenas nicobarica. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/01/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/01/2020.