FW: [canberrabirds] Out of area - Pied (Torresian) Imperial Pigeon - sci

To: "" <>
Subject: FW: [canberrabirds] Out of area - Pied (Torresian) Imperial Pigeon - scientific name/s
From: Geoffrey Dabb <>
Date: Thu, 2 May 2019 03:58:01 +0000

I should mention that Joe Forshaw has been in touch about this, and has expressed the view, reflected in his own recent work, that the Australian birds belong in D. bicolor, being properly described as D. b. spilorrhoa.  He also mentioned a 1899 record of the nominate race from Christmas island. As Birdlife Australia policy is to bring all such vagrant records onto the Australian list I raised that record with Birdlife Australia Rarities Committee, as it would be a new species for Australia given the taxonomic approach taken by Birdlife Australia.  Tony Palliser has advised that BARC has already considered that record and accepted it.  A pending addition to the Australian list then, although not a species recorded recently.  That addition depends on the reach of the Australian list depending on current political geography.  It was only in 1888 at Flying Fish Cove, where the relevant visiting flock of imperial-pigeons was soon to be seen, that Christmas Island was declared to be under the control of the British crown, although not annexed until 1900.  It was not until 1958 that Christmas Island became an Australian Territory, the birds by then having long since flown on (except one).      



From: Lia Battisson <>
Sent: Wednesday, 1 May 2019 10:09 AM
To: 'Geoffrey Dabb' <>;
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Out of area - Pied (Torresian) Imperial Pigeon - scientific name/s


Thank you Geoffrey, that is clear now.  A beautiful bird that I saw in the George Brown Botanic Gardens in Darwin on 3/7/13.


From: Geoffrey Dabb <>
Sent: 1 May 2019 9:59 AM
Subject: FW: [canberrabirds] Out of area - Pied (Torresian) Imperial Pigeon - scientific name/s


Lia   -   It depends on whether the Australian bird is regarded as a subspecies of the ‘imperial pigeon’ that is found more widely, in Indonesia for example.  That was the view taken as recently as  Christidis and Boles 2008, and gave you ‘D bicolor Pied Imperial-Pigeon’. The global lists (haven’t checked all of them) now regard the New Guinea/Australia species as separate,  D spilorrorhoa.


So the species on the Australian list is now (and I snip) –



There are also differences in the English spelling.  You will find the variations: ‘Imperial-Pigeon’, ‘Imperial-pigeon’, and ‘Imperial Pigeon’.


From: Martin Butterfield <>
Sent: Wednesday, 1 May 2019 9:30 AM
To: Battisson, Lia <>
Cc: COG Discussion List <>
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Out of area - Pied (Torresian) Imperial Pigeon - scientific name/s


Is that 2 names in the same reference?  Looking at Avibase the taxonomy looks a mess but D, bicolor is the Pied Imperial Pigeon and D.  spilorrhoa  the Torresian Imperial Pigeon.  Checking the "related taxa" panel it looks like a mess with various 'authorities' engaged in trench warfare to preserve their own view of things.



On Wed, 1 May 2019 at 09:13, Lia Battisson <> wrote:

For those who have expertise in taxonomy,  the above bird appears to have two scientific names:


  • Ducula spilorrhoa and
  • Ducula bicolor


Can you please explain this for me?


Many thanks


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