Thick-billed Ground Doves

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Thick-billed Ground DoveThe Thick-billed Ground Dove (Gallicolumba salamonis) is an extinct dove species.

This poorly known species is only known from two specimens from 1882 and 1927. The holotype from 1882 can be seen in the Australian Museum in Sydney.


Description

The length was about 26 cm. The head, the throat, and the breast mantle were beige. The chestnut upperparts with a pale purple sheen on the carpals and the small wing-coverts contrasted with a chocolate-colored belly.

The Thick-billed Ground Dove might preferred dry beach forests on the Solomon Islands of Makira (formerly San Cristobal), and the tiny island of Ramos which belongs to Malaita. It is likely that it have also occurred on other islands in that region in the past. It was a ground-dweller like its congeners, and so it was an easy prey for introduced rats and feral pigs, cats and dogs. The logging of the lowland forests in its habitat and the hunting sealed its fate.

Despite it was last seen in 1927, the IUCN has long hesitated to declare this species extinct. Many surveys in the former range were undertaken in the later part of the 20th century (Dutson, 2003), but when the last search for this species on Ramos in 2004 had failed too it was officially declared extinct in 2005. It had probably became extinct in the mid-20th century following the increased activity around the time of World War II, which affected several populations of endemic birds in the region.


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