Sri Lanka Woodpigeon Columba torringtoniae


Justification of Red List Category
This pigeon has a small, declining, population and range, which are severely fragmented as a result of the destruction of hill and montane forest. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

Population justification
The population is unlikely to number more than a few thousand individuals based on recent records and surveys. It is placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals here, equating to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
This species's population size and trends are unclear but it appears to have declined and become increasingly fragmented since the mid 20th century, becoming uncommon in the central mountains. Based on this information, the species is suspected to be suffering a moderate and on-going decline overall.

Distribution and population

Columba torringtoniae is endemic to Sri Lanka, where it occurs in the mountains of the centre of the island and the adjacent foothills of the wet zone (BirdLife International 2001). Recent reports recorded the species in Gannoruwa Mountain Forest Reserve (Rathnayake et al. 2016). Its population size and trends are unclear but it appears to have declined and become increasingly fragmented since the mid 20th century, becoming uncommon in the central mountains. It is unlikely that the population numbers more than a few thousand individuals.


It occurs in hill and montane forest, generally above c.900 m, but it sometimes descends as low as 300 m in the lowland forests of the wet zone. It is arboreal and frugivorous, making movements in response to the availability of fruiting trees, and has frequently been recorded at fruiting trees outside forest. Nesting is from January-March and again from August-October, in tall forest trees.


The main threat is the extensive clearance and degradation of forests, particularly in the wet zone, through logging, fuelwood-collection, conversion to agriculture and tree plantations, gem mining, settlement and fire. Some protected forests continue to be degraded and suffer further fragmentation. It has also suffered reductions in food supply because of replacement of natural forests, containing fruiting trees, with monoculture plantations. Forest die-back in the montane region, perhaps a result of air pollution, is a potential threat.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It is legally protected in Sri Lanka. A moratorium was passed in 1990 to protect wet zone forests from logging. It occurs in several national parks and forest reserves, most notably Sinharaja National Heritage Wilderness Area. A survey of the biodiversity of 200 forest sites was carried out from 1991-1996.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct a comprehensive survey in order to produce management recommendations for this species in conservation forests and other protected areas. Research its ecology, particularly seasonal movements in response to food availability. Encourage protection of important areas of forest holding this and other threatened species, including proposals to designate conservation forests, and ensure their effective management. Maintain the current ban on logging of wet zone forests. Promote programmes to create awareness of the value of biological resources amongst local communities.


36 cm. Medium-sized, dark pigeon. Adult has slate-grey upperparts, wings and tail and lilac-grey head, neck and underparts with darker, purplish-grey breast. Black hindneck with white stippling and purplish gloss on mantle, sides of neck and breast. Similar spp. Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea is larger, lacks black-and-white neck pattern, has metallic green upperparts and maroon undertail-coverts. Voice Mainly silent, but has a deep, owl-like hoo in courtship display.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Crosby, M., Peet, N., Taylor, J., North, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Columba torringtoniae. Downloaded from on 12/04/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 12/04/2021.