Justification of Red List Category
This newly-split species is categorised as Near Threatened because its population is estimated to be moderately small and is inferred to be declining owing to the loss and degradation of its lowland forest habitat, and perhaps also hunting pressure. However, there are few quantitative data and new information may lead to its reclassification.
There are no known population estimates for this poorly-known species. It is precautionarily estimated to number 10,000-14,999 mature individuals but the population is probably larger.
Loss and degradation of lowland forest through large-scale selective logging and the development of oil palm plantations are suspected to be driving a population decline in this species, although hunting pressure is perhaps less than was previously suspected.
G. sclaterii occurs in the south-western lowlands of Papua New Guinea, mostly west of the Fly River, ranging west into the south-eastern lowlands of West Papua, Indonesia, to the Mimika River (del Hoyo et al. 1997, Gibbs et al. 2001). Although it is rare or extirpated around most villages, it is still locally common in remote regions of Papua and Western and Gulf Provinces in Papua New Guinea (Beehler et al. 1994, K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, 2000, I. Burrows in litt. 1994, P. Gregory in litt. 1994).
It inhabits undisturbed dry and flooded forest, often alluvial, in the lowlands to 500 m (Coates 1985, Beehler et al. 1986). It feeds on the ground in small flocks of 2-10 birds (historically up to 30 birds [Ramsay 1879]) and roosts in trees. Captive birds start breeding from 15 months old, lay a single egg, and tend to the fledgling for some months after hatching (King and Nijboer 1994).
Much of its population is in Western Province of Papua New Guinea, in which 1.3% of forest was lost plus 3.2% logged between 2002-2014 (Bryan and Shearman 2015). Lowland forests, particularly on the flat terrain favoured by this species, are threatened by logging and the development of oil palm plantations, and logging roads open up access to hunters (King and Nijboer 1994, I. Burrows in litt. 1994, P. Gregory in litt. 1994, B. Beehler in litt. 2012), as does oil and gas exploration (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, 2000). This large species is also hunted for meat and, to a lesser extent, for its feathers (Beehler 1985). It has become extirpated from the vicinity of some transmigration settlements in Papua where it had survived constant hunting from indigenous people (King and Nijboer 1994). However, the species is fairly difficult to hunt without a shotgun (which are essentially no longer available in New Guinea) as it flushes at considerable distance (c.40 m) and perches high in the middle-story, out of the reach of hunters with bows (B. Beehler in litt. 2012), although hunting hides are sometimes constructed at the base of suitable fruiting trees (I. Woxvold pers. comm. 2016).
Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is protected by law in Papua New Guinea.
66-73 cm. Huge, terrestrial pigeon with fan-like sagittal crest. Unpatterned pale grey crest and rich maroon underparts from throat to tail. Similar spp. Range adjoins three parapatric congeners, known to hybridise with at least two of these where their ranges meet: Victoria Crowned-pigeon G. victoria has white tips to crest and less maroon on lower breast, Western Crowned-pigeon G. cristata has plain grey underparts and maroon mantle and wing-coverts. This species was previously included within G. scheepmakeri, which has grey upper throat and wing coverts (maroon in G. sclaterii) and maroon lower belly (grey in G. sclaterii). Voice Foraging flocks communicate with quiet, resonating booms. Hints Usually only seen with the help of local guides in remote uninhabited areas.
Text account compilers
Bird, J., Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Stattersfield, A., Martin, R, Taylor, J., Symes, A., North, A.
Dutson, G., Burrows, I., Bishop, K., Beehler, B., Stronach, N., Kula, G., Woxvold, I., Gregory, P.
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Goura sclaterii. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/01/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/01/2020.