Western Crowned-pigeon Goura cristata


Justification of Red List Category
This spectacular pigeon is classified as Vulnerable because its population is suspected to be rapidly declining, through habitat loss and hunting. However, the total population size, the effect and extent of habitat degradation and the impact of hunting and trade are all poorly known, and further research may lead to its reclassification.

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals. This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
This species suffers heavily from hunting for food and plumes, and for trade. These factors, together with loss of forest habitat, are suspected to be driving a rapid population decline.

Distribution and population

Goura cristata occurs in the West Papuan Islands (Misool, Waigeo, Salawati, Batanta), the Vogelkop and western Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), west of Geelvink and Etna Bays, Indonesia (King and Nijboer 1994), and also on Seram, South Maluku (Kitchener et al. 1993, Macdonald 1995), where it was almost certainly introduced (Coates and Bishop 1997). It was historically common (Rand and Gilliard 1967), and remains locally fairly common at several sites on mainland Papua (Erftemeijer et al. 1991, Gibbs 1993, Poulsen and Frolander 1994), Salawati (Gibbs 1993, Poulsen and Frolander 1994, Eastwood 1996b) and Seram (Macdonald 1995, Coates and Bishop 1997), but may be extinct on Batanta (D. Gibbs in litt. 1994), and has been extirpated from many sites on Papua (King and Nijboer 1994).


It inhabits marshy and partly flooded forest, usually undisturbed alluvial forest, but also hill forest, dense secondary growth and mangroves, up to at least 350 m (Bishop 1982, Beehler et al. 1986, Coates and Bishop 1997). Pairs incubate a single egg for a month, tend the nestling for a further month and continue to feed the fledgling for several months (King and Nijboer 1994).


It is heavily hunted for food and its plumes (although less than the two other Goura species because gun ownership is lower in Indonesia than in Papua New Guinea) (Beehler 1985), and may be subject to significant levels of trade, being a highly prized aviary bird (King and Nijboer 1994). Extensive logging concessions have been granted within its range and habitat has already been lost to substantial transmigration schemes (Collins et al. 1991). Logging roads and oil and mineral exploration also increase access for hunters (K. D. Bishop in litt. 2000). Like the allopatric Scheepmaker's Crowned-pigeon C. scheepmakeri, it is probably notably less common in logged forest (I. Woxvold pers. comm. 2016).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II.  Part of the European Endangered [Species] Programme of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.  The species is afforded some protection in Indonesia from commercial trade and domestic use (Nichols et al. 1991). There are single protected areas on all the West Papuan Islands of occurrence and three very large proposed nature reserves within its mainland Papuan range, but most are in the mountains (Sujatnika et al. 1995). 

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct extensive surveys to clarify its current distribution and population status. Ascertain tolerance of logged forest. Monitor populations in well-studied protected areas. Investigate hunting, and devise and implement appropriate controls. Investigate international and domestic trade, and devise and implement appropriate controls. Support formal designation of the proposed nature reserves on mainland Papua. Enforce protection in these protected areas.


66 cm. Huge terrestrial pigeon with large sagittal crest. Blue-grey plumage with maroon shoulder and mantle patch, and variable black spots (some birds are entirely black). Similar spp. Southern Crowned-pigeon G. scheepmakeri, to south-east of range, has maroon underparts. Victoria Crowned-pigeon G. victoria, to north-east of range, has maroon breast and white-tipped crest. Voice Quiet, resonating booms.


Text account compilers
Bird, J., Dutson, G., Benstead, P., Taylor, J., Crosby, M.

Woxvold, I., Beehler, B., Bishop, K.D., Gibbs, D.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Goura cristata. Downloaded from on 08/08/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 08/08/2020.