Skip to content

83. Polynesian Ground-dove

Alopecoenas erythropterus


The Polynesian Ground-dove is endemic to French Polynesia, where it has become regionally extinct in some areas throughout the Tuamotu Archipelago.

This species is part of the family Columbidae, which diverged 32.7 million years ago, during the Paleogene period. This species has a very small population, which is fragmented to even smaller subpopulations on tiny wooded islets. It’s extinction from many of these islets indicates an overall decline, which is likely to be due to predation by introduced cats and rats, habitat loss and deterioration and natural disasters such as cyclones and severe storms. The greatest threat to this species is rat invasions to the islands. An island restoration project in 2015 to remove rats and other invasive species from the Acteon island group of Tuamotu was undertaken. The effects of this are still unknown and there is ongoing research to see if this has helped this species of bird. The habitats are also under threat from the aggressive colonisation by coconuts resulting in the depletion of indigenous food plants.

  • Order: Columbiformes
  • Family: Columbidae
  • Population: 200
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 25cm

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 4.99 (?)
ED Score: 8.14 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


This species is found throughout the archipelagos of French Polynesia.

Habitat and Ecology

This species favours primary forest of Pandanus tectorius and Pisonia grandis on atolls with herbs, shrubs and ferns or dense shrubs, and has been observed in dense shrubs under coconut trees. They will eat a variety of foods such as caterpillars, other insects, seeds, green leaves, buds and fruit.

Find out more

Loading species distribution map...

This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Habitat change Extreme weather Hunting Invasive species

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
Available at: