Pink-headed Imperial-pigeon Ducula rosacea


Justification of Red List Category
Although it has quite a wide range, this species is uncommon and patchily distributed, such that it is likely to have a moderately small population, although likely larger than previously suspected given the reported abundance on Wetar Island. It is much sought after by hunters and suffers from the effects of habitat degradation. There is strong evidence of a rapid decline driven primarily by hunting on Roti and Timor, which previously accounted for a large proportion of the global population. While other populations appear to be stable or are suspected to be declining only at a slow rate, the rapid loss of abundance across a significant section of the range indicates that a moderate overall population reduction has occurred over the past three generations. As such, the species is classified as Near Threatened. 

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as generally fairly scarce, although common on Tanahjampea, Tanimbar, Wetar and Karimunjawa islands (Gibbs et al. 2001, Trainor et al. 2009, Susanto 2012, B. van Balen in litt. 2016, C. Trainor & J. P. Lopez in litt. 2020), 'uncommon' on Babar and 'fairly frequent' at secondary forest edges on Sermata (Trainor and Verbelen 2013). Across Timor it appears to have declined sharply due to intensive hunting (C. Trainor & J. P. Lopez in litt. 2020).

In West Timor there are now only very low numbers at Bipolo and Camplong, where previously large flocks could be easily observed. Similarly, in Timor-Leste numbers encountered in Nino Konis Santana National Park in 2019 were far lower than previously, with the decline ascribed to hunting occurring throughout Timor (C. Trainor & J. P. Lopez 2020). The species is now locally absent from many formerly occupied sites in the country, and is even greatly reduced in the Oecusse enclave (C. Trainor & J. P. Lopez in litt. 2020).

Trend justification
Hunting and habitat degradation are suspected to be driving a moderate decline overall, but rapid declines have occurred due solely to hunting in Timor-Leste and West Timor in recent years (C. Trainor & J. P. Lopez in litt. 2020). The species has declined from being common in forested sites (Bipolo and Camplong in West Timor, Nino Konis Santana National Park in Timor-Leste) at the start of the 2000s to only being recording in ones and twos in 2019 (C. Trainor & J. P. Lopez in litt. 2020). Should the impact of hunting be mitigated, there is the potential for considerable future recovery in the depleted parts of the range.

On many of the small islands on which the species occurs numbers remain good. The stronghold of the species may now be Wetar where there continue to be counts of large flocks and a large proportion of forest remains including favoured riparian Canarium groves (Trainor et al. 2009, C. Trainor & J. P. Lopez in litt. 2020).

Distribution and population

Ducula rosacea is restricted to Indonesia and Timor-Leste, where it occurs in four Endemic Bird Areas (Northern Nusa Tenggara, Timor and Wetar, Banda Sea Islands, and Northern Maluku) and five Secondary Areas (Seribu Islands, Masalembu, Kangean, Salayar and Bonerate Islands, and Tukangbesi Islands). Despite this wide range, the species appears to have become very rare at least in some areas, and rather uncommon elsewhere. It is thought to be the commonest pigeon on Wetar, with the population on this island estimated to be "very large" (Trainor et al. 2009).

The status of the species in northern Maluku is unclear: there is only a single specimen from Halmahera (from 1862) and one from Bacan (1954).


It inhabits forest, scrub and farmland up to 930 m (Trainor et al. 2009), but may only occur at lower levels on Bacan and Alor (Baptista et al. 2020). The majority of records are from the lowlands (GBIF.org 2021).


It is eagerly sought by hunters and is thought to be affected by habitat loss. On Timor and Roti hunting pressure is severe and appears to have been sufficient to cause rapid declines throughout in recent decades (C. Trainor & J. P. Lopez in litt. 2020). Whilst most of the rugged forest on Wetar is thought to be secure, the accessible areas near the coast are vulnerable to pressure from agriculture and logging, with mining and road construction possibly also posing a threat (Trainor et al. 2009). Forest cover loss within the range has been 3.8-6.2% over the past three generations, and the annual rate of reduction has been slightly increasing in the past few years, which if projected would result in a 6.8% loss of forest cover over the next three generations (data from Global Forest Watch 2021). Development for the tourist industry poses local threats, for instance on the Karimunjawa Islands where hotels and resorts have been built in the past few years (B. van Balen in litt. 2016).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to assess its population size. Regularly monitor at certain sites throughout its range to determine population trends. Where possible, control hunting, perhaps using awareness campaigns. Protect significant areas of lowland forest on many islands across its range.


Text account compilers
Martin, R.

van Balen, B.S., Tobias, J., Mahood, S., Collar, N., Westrip, J.R.S. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Ducula rosacea. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/03/2023.