Victoria Crowned-pigeon Goura victoria


Justification of Red List Category
This species has been downlisted to Near Threatened as it is no longer suspected to be undergoing rapid declines since hunting pressure is no longer thought to represent a significant threat. Nevertheless, moderately rapid ongoing declines are still suspected to be taking place owing to the impacts of selective logging and the development of oil-palm plantations in its lowland forest habitat.

Population justification
The population size is precautionarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-20,000 individuals.

Trend justification
It is suspected to be declining at a moderately rapid rate, given its long generation time and the rates of habitat loss and degradation. Across north coastal Papua New Guinea (West Sepik, East Sepik and Madang provinces), forest loss was 1.4% and plus 3.5% forest degradation between 2002 and 2014 (Bryan and Shearman 2015); rates for Indonesian New Guinea are not quantified but appear to be similar. Given its likely persistence at lower population densities in logged forest, and a slowly increasing rate of hunting, its population is provisionally estimated to be declining at 1-9% over three generations (20 years).

Distribution and population

Goura victoria occurs on Biak-Supiori (where it may have been introduced), the Yapen islands, and northern New Guinea from Geelvink Bay, Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), Indonesia, to Astrolabe Bay, and an isolated area around Collingwood Bay in easternmost Papua New Guinea (Coates 1985, Beehler et al. 1986, King and Nijboer 1994). Its absence between Astrolabe Bay and Collingwood Bay is likely to be natural, given the lack of a coastal plain along this strip, though some think it may indicate a historic extirpation (King and Nijboer 1994, B. Beehler in litt. 2000, B. Beehler in litt. 2007). The main populations are in the Sepik Basin of PNG and the Mamberamo Basin of Papua (B. Beehler in litt. 2007), it remains locally common in some remote undisturbed areas especially in lowland alluvial forest (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, B. Beehler in litt. 2012, I. Woxvold pers. comm. 2016).


This species is found in lowland forest, including swamp-forest, mostly in the extreme lowlands, but sometimes to 600 m (Coates 1985). It feeds on the ground in small groups of 2-10 birds 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). A study in 2014 found this species to be present only in continuous forest, and not in forest fragments (Sam et al. 2014).


It is prized by hunters for meat and, to a lesser extent, for its feathers (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994). Nestlings are also taken to be reared for food (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1999). 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), but elsewhere it does appear to persist close to habitation and close to hunters (G. Dutson in litt. 2013). 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, and thus hunting represents less of a threat than previously feared (B. Beehler in litt. 2012, G. Dutson in litt. 2013). Lowland forests (such as in the Sepik basin), particularly on the flat terrain favoured by this species, are threatened by selective logging and the development of oil palm plantations, as well as logging roads opening up access to hunters (King and Nijboer 1994, I. Burrows in litt. 1994, P. Gregory in litt. 1994, B. Beehler in litt. 2012)

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is protected by law in Papua New Guinea.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey suitable habitat between Astrolabe Bay and Collingwood Bay. Determine populations in study areas such as the Wapoga River. Assess hunting levels through discussion with local hunters. Investigate population trends through discussion with local hunters. Ascertain tolerance of logged forest. Monitor numbers traded. Establish more wildlife protection areas in lowlands and develop captive breeding programmes. Enforce protection in uninhabited reserve areas. Launch public awareness programmes to reduce hunting. Utilise as a flagship species in ecotourism ventures.


74 cm. Huge, blue-grey and maroon terrestrial pigeon with spectacular white-tipped sagittal crest. Similar spp. Hybridises with other crowned-pigeons where ranges abut. Southern Crowned-pigeon G. scheepmakeri has plain unpatterned crest and is maroon on lower breast. Western Crowned-pigeon G. cristata has unpatterned crest, plain grey underparts and maroon mantle and wing-coverts. Voice Quiet, resonating twinned booms. Hints Birds forage on ground and are wary, flushing at distance and then alighting on forest perches from 10-25 meters above the ground.


Text account compilers
Bird, J., Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Stattersfield, A., Symes, A., North, A.

Beehler, B., Bishop, K., Burrows, I., Woxvold, I., Dutson, G., Gregory, P.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Goura victoria. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/06/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/06/2020.