Emerald Dove RFI: Pacific or Common?

To: "'Carl Weber'" <>, <>
Subject: Emerald Dove RFI: Pacific or Common?
From: "Carl Weber" <>
Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2012 14:13:00 +1100
Hi Birders,


On 2.11.12 I wrote that there appear to be some inconsistencies in the
naming of Common and Pacific Emerald Dove. I now accept that the naming is
at least internally consistent. My thanks to Mick Roderick, Alastair Smith
and Dave Torr for providing helpful information that enabled me to better
understand the split.  


My new understanding is that Pacific Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps longirostris)
occurs throughout mainland Australia, and includes emerald doves from the
eastern seaboard, Torres Strait, Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, the Top
End and the Kimberley.  Common Emerald Dove  (Chalcophaps indica) occurs on
Christmas Island, and presumably elsewhere outside Australia to the west and


I am perhaps surprised by the location of this split, in that in appearance
the Top End and Kimberley emerald dove would appear to have more in common
with the Christmas Island species than with the east coast species. Also,
the name Pacific Emerald Dove is a little misleading, in that the species
can be also found on the Indian Ocean coast. Admittedly, there are already
many worse examples of inapt naming than this. Ours is not to reason why!


No armchair tick here for those of us moving to the IOC listing. One has to
go to Christmas Island to take advantage of the split.


Carl Weber




From: Carl Weber  
Sent: Friday, 2 November 2012 1:10 PM
Subject: Emerald Dove RFI: Pacific or Common?


Hi Birders,


There appear to be inconsistencies in the naming of Pacific Emerald Dove and
Common Emerald Dove.  At least some birders have adopted the name Pacific
(Chalcophaps longirostris) for birds from eastern Australia and Lord Howe
Island etc, and Common (Chalcophaps indica) for birds from the Top End. This
would seem to be a logical thing to do.  However, according to both bird
guide books Pizzey & Knight and Simpson & Day, the former race longirostris
applies to birds from the Top End. If so, the abovementioned naming practice
would seem to be back to front.


So, has someone got something wrong? Was it the guide books, who some years
ago incorrectly reversed the locations of the 2 dove races? Or was it the
IOC, who accidentally ascribed the names Pacific and Common to the wrong
species? Certainly, the name Pacific should logically apply to the species
that inhabits the Pacific coast of Australia and adjacent islands.


A summary of some public information is set out below:


P&K; S&D

Chalcophaps indica - race rogersi  (formerly chrysochlora) - eastern
Australia, Lord Howe Is - picture shows plain green back.

Chalcophaps indica - race longirostris - Kimberley & Top End - picture shows
grey & white bars on back. 


IOC Checklist 3.1

4859.  Common Emerald Dove  - Chalcophaps indica - OR, AU - widespread.

4866.  Pacific Emerald Dove - Chalcophaps longirostris - AU - Australasia.


Birding for Devils

366 - 14 Feb - Common Emerald Dove - Christmas Island

130 - 19 Jan - Pacific Emerald Dove - Lake Eacham, Qld


M Roderick on B.Aus

re: Emerald Doves, but as far as I understand it C. indica ("Common") occurs
in the Top End and Kimberley and this species also ranges into SE Asia.
whereas C. longirostris ("Pacific") is the one found on the East Coast of
Australia and Pacific Islands (including Lord Howe). C. natalis (from
Christmas Island) is retained as a subspecies of (presumably) C. indica.  


Hoping that someone out there can bring all this to the attention of those
in power.


Carl Weber


If I could tick both species I wouldn't be so concerned, but as I can only
tick one, I do need to know which one.



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