Justification of Red List Category
The population of this species, which could be very small, is suspected to be declining rapidly, concurrent with the rapid reduction in its lowland forest habitat and intense hunting at least in part of its range (Roti). As a result, it is classified as Endangered.
The species occurs very patchily and is absent from areas of apparently suitable habitat. It's global population is precautionarily estimated to lie within the band 1,000-3,000 individuals (C. Trainor in litt. 2012), roughly equivalent to 660-2,000 mature individuals.
The on-going clearance of lowland forest and widespread hunting pressure are suspected to be driving a rapid and continuing decline in this species's population.
Treron psittaceus is endemic to Timor-Leste, West Timor and its satellite islands, Semau (42 records in total C. Trainor in litt. 2016) and Roti, Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, where it appears to be uncommon or rare, and apparently very local (BirdLife International 2001). It has been infrequently recorded during fieldwork (eg only one record from surveys in Onansila in 1991 [Johnstone et al. 2014]), although it is perhaps overlooked owing to its inconspicuous and very wary disposition. Five birds were seen perched in Casuarina trees in Kolabe Forest in the late 1990s (Lesmana et al. 2000), whilst no sightings were made in West Timor in 1993 (Noske and Saleh 1996). It is thought to have declined recently throughout West Timor, but is more common in Timor-Leste (Trainor et al. 2004), being described as scarce to moderately common at all locations visited during survey work in 2003 (Mauro 2003). Flocks of 50 birds and exceptionally 140 have been recorded in Timor recently and one record of a bird well away from forest indicates it may tolerate degraded habitat (C. Trainor in litt. 2007). This suggestion has been reiterated by video footage of a nesting individual in degraded savanna (C. Trainor in litt. 2016). On Roti it is apparently rare—the first was recorded in 1969 (Mees 1975), subsequently one bird was observed north-west of Sipu in 2004 (Trainor 2005) and two birds were seen near Daurendale hamlet (Sotimori village, East Roti) in August 2009 (Verbelen and Cooleman 2015). In Lore, 32 individuals were sighted in a fruiting tree (C. Trainor in litt. 2016).
It inhabits primary and tall secondary, lowland dry and monsoon-forest, mostly in the extreme lowlands, straggling up to 1,000 m (Mauro 2003, Trainor and Soares 2004, C. Trainor in litt. 2007). It is likely to be nomadic in response to the fruiting cycle of figs, and is usually encountered in small flocks containing tens of birds, exceptionally up to 140 individuals (C. Trainor in litt. 2007). This flocking behaviour makes it vulnerable to local hunters who are aware of their call (C. Trainor in litt. 2016). Elevation range is 0-1080m (n=42), with an average of 167m. The only two records above 500m were at Mt Legumau and Lautem or Lospalos district (C. Trainor in litt. 2016).
Loss of monsoon-forest has been severe in its range, and together, this and hunting represent the greatest threats to the species. The mountains of Timor-Leste were heavily deforested early in the 20th century, but habitat destruction has recently accelerated: an estimated 50% decline in remaining montane forest-cover occurred during Indonesian rule (1975-1999). Monsoon-forests now only cover an estimated 4% of West Timor, scattered in around seven unprotected patches that are continually declining in size due to intensive grazing and burning. Pigeons (including this species) are hunted extensively in Timor and have been in preceding decades during military occupation; the species is considered delicious and guns are widely available (C. Trainor in litt. 2007). It is a principal target of hunters on Roti where hunting pressure is intense (Trainor 2005).
Conservation Actions Underway
Recent surveys have identified several areas in West Timor to be of conservation importance to the island's endemic avifauna, one of which, Bipolo (although now only c.2 km2), supports the species and another, Camplong, did until very recently. Another site, Gunung Timau, is subject to an initiative to include it within the Gunung Mutis protected area. Recent surveys in Timor-Leste have located it at approximately ten sites (C. Trainor in litt. 2007). The recently designated Nino Konis Santana National Park supports a population estimated to number in the low hundreds (C. Trainor in litt. 2007).
28 cm. Medium-sized, arboreal, green pigeon. Male slightly greyish-green, brighter on throat, rump and uppertail-coverts. Greyish-black wings with coverts fringed yellow. Green central tail-feathers, remainder grey with darker band. Vent and undertail-coverts white, tipped green. Female duller green with paler yellow wing-covert fringes. Similar spp. Only other green-coloured pigeon in range is Rose-crowned Fruit-dove Ptilinopus regina, and this has orange and yellow patches on underparts and pink crown in the male. Voice Series of 6-7 accelerating, descending see-saw notes and medley of high-pitched bubbling and gargling sounds.
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Davidson, P., Taylor, J., Tobias, J., Allinson, T, Martin, R, North, A.
Trainor, C., Verbelen, F.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Treron psittaceus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/10/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/10/2019.