Norfolk Island Pigeon

Scientific Name
Hemiphaga spadicea
Conservation Status
Extinct (EX)

Recent Nearby Sightings

Norfolk Island Pigeon Images

Wikipedia Article

The Norfolk Pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae spadicea), sometimes called a Wood Quest, was a subspecies of the New Zealand Pigeon that inhabited Norfolk Island. It went extinct around the turn of the 20th century.
Extinctbirds1907 P21 Hemiphaga spadicea0323.png|thumb|left|Illustration by Keulemans, 1907 The abundance of the Norfolk Pigeon at the time of the island's settlement is unknown. Early records indicate the presence of the bird, but do not contain any information on its numbers. Based on the behaviour of the other subspecies, it is likely that the bird relied upon fruiting plants for food.
The extinction of the Norfolk Pigeon was caused by a combination of the introduction of cats and weasels, habitat destruction by human settlers, and direct hunting by humans. Prior to European settlement, the bird had been hunted by the Polynesian settlers of the island. When Europeans reached the island, however, the birds remained and the Polynesians did not. The Europeans took up the bird as a food source. An officer of the penal colony there, Ensign Abel Dottin William Best, recorded the species as still quite common in 1838, with his journals mentioning his successful hunting of 72 birds, including 25 on September 18th, 1838. The last sighting occurred in 1901. Direct hunting by humans was likely the dominant cause of extinction.
The first description of the species was given by John Latham, in his 1802 work Supplementum Indicis Ornithologici. Twenty specimens of the Norfolk Pigeon are known. Three of these are in the Natural History Museum, Leiden.
The Government of Norfolk Island released a stamp commemorating the bird on February 24th, 1971.