Choiseul Pigeon

Scientific Name
Microgoura meeki
Extinct Year
Conservation Status
Extinct (EX)

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Wikipedia Article

The Choiseul Crested Pigeon (Microgoura meeki) is a presumedly extinct pigeon which was only known on the Solomon island of Choiseul in the Pacific. This species was first described by Walter Rothschild in 1904 and named in honour of Albert Stewart Meek. The Choiseul islanders called that species kukuru-ni-lua which means ground pigeon. There is a painting by John Gerrard Keulemans in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
This species had a length of approximately 30 cm, roughly the size of a chicken. On the top of the head was a dark bluish crest similar to the Crowned Pigeons of Papua New Guinea. The forehead and the front of the face were black, the rest of the head was sparsely pinnate with a reddish hue. Mantle and breast had a dark blueish colour with a brown tinge on the lower back. The wings and the backside were olive brown. The tail was dark brown with a purple hue. The abdomen had a chestnut coloured tone. The upper side of the bill was black, the lower side red. The legs were purplish red. It is not known whether there were differences between the sexes.
In 1904 six specimens were shot by Albert Stewart Meek, a bird collector for Lord Walter Rothschild and brought to the Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum at Tring. An egg was also collected. He did not find the Choiseul Crested Pigeon in Bougainville Island, but was informed of its presence on the adjacent islands of Santa Isabel and Malaita. Because of Rothschild's financial difficulties, five skins were sold to the American Museum of Natural History. On further expeditions in 1927 and 1929, no specimens were found. It is assumed that the Choiseul Crested Pigeon was not only a victim of human hunters, but also fell victim of destruction brought by non-native feral cats and dogs that were introduced to the islands.