Bird O'clock

7 Fascinating Facts About the Black-Naped Fruit-Dove

The world of birds is vast and diverse, with over 10,000 known species. Among them is the black-naped fruit-dove, a beautiful bird found across Southeast Asia and the Philippines.

With its colorful plumage and unique features, the black-naped fruit-dove is a fascinating species to study and observe. In this article, we will delve into its identification, plumages, and molts.

Identification

Field Identification

The black-naped fruit-dove is a small bird, measuring around 24 cm in length. It has a distinctive plumage, with males being more colorful than females.

Male birds have glossy green feathers on their upperparts, a bright yellow mantle, a black nape, and a white belly. Females, on the other hand, have plain green upperparts and a yellow-green belly.

Another identifying feature of the black-naped fruit-dove is its red bill and feet. Its eyes are also surrounded by a bright red ring.

These features make the bird stand out among its surroundings.

Similar Species

The black-naped fruit-dove can be mistaken for other fruit-dove species, particularly the pink-necked green pigeon. However, the pink-necked green pigeon has a green nape, lacks a white belly, and has a more curved bill than the black-naped fruit-dove.

Plumages

The black-naped fruit-dove has different plumages throughout its life cycle. Juvenile birds have a duller plumage than adults.

They have olive-green feathers on their upperparts and a yellow-green belly. The black nape on the male bird is absent in juveniles.

Adults, on the other hand, have a glossy green plumage on their upperparts, a bright yellow mantle, and a black nape. Female birds have a less colorful plumage than males.

They have green feathers on their upperparts and a yellow-green belly.

Molts

The black-naped fruit-dove undergoes two molts throughout the year. The pre-basic molt occurs after breeding season and involves the replacement of worn-out feathers.

The pre-alternate molt occurs before the breeding season and is characterized by a change in the bird’s appearance. The male’s plumage becomes brighter and more colorful during the pre-alternate molt.

Conclusion

The black-naped fruit-dove is a beautiful bird with unique features that make it stand out among other doves and pigeons. Its plumages and molts provide an insight into its life cycle and behavior.

Studying and observing the black-naped fruit-dove is a rewarding experience that can broaden our understanding of the avian world.

Systematics History

The black-naped fruit-dove has been classified under different genera and subfamilies over the years. It was previously classified under the genus Osmotreron, but was later moved to the genus Ptilinopus.

It belongs to the subfamily Treroninae, which contains other fruit-dove species.

Geographic Variation

The black-naped fruit-dove is found across Southeast Asia and the Philippines. It has a wide distribution range, and as a result, there is geographic variation in its appearance.

Birds from the northern part of its range have a darker plumage than those from the southern part. There is also variation in the size of the bird.

Birds from the Philippines are smaller than those from mainland Southeast Asia.

Subspecies

There are six recognized subspecies of the black-naped fruit-dove:

1. Ptilinopus melanospilus melanospilus – found in the Philippines

2.

Ptilinopus melanospilus ariel – found in Indonesia (Sulawesi and nearby islands)

3. Ptilinopus melanospilus confusus – found in Indonesia (Moluccas)

4.

Ptilinopus melanospilus leclancheri – found in Malaysia and Singapore

5. Ptilinopus melanospilus paulinae – found in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia

6.

Ptilinopus melanospilus xanthorrhous – found in Myanmar and Bangladesh

Related Species

The black-naped fruit-dove is closely related to other fruit-dove species in the subfamily Treroninae. One of its closest relatives is the yellow-breasted fruit-dove (Ptilinopus occipitalis), which is found in the Philippines.

The purple-winged fruit-dove (Ptilinopus porphyraceus) is another close relative, found in Southeast Asia. Both species share similar features with the black-naped fruit-dove, including a colorful plumage and a preference for fruit.

Historical Changes to Distribution

The black-naped fruit-dove once had a wider distribution range than it does today. It was previously found in southern China, but has become extinct in the region.

Habitat loss and hunting are believed to be the main causes of the extinction. The bird was also found in Taiwan, but it is now only considered a rare vagrant to the island.

In some parts of its range, the black-naped fruit-dove is still common and even considered a pest due to its preference for fruit crops. However, in other parts, the bird is facing threats from hunting and habitat loss.

In some countries, the bird is hunted for its meat, feathers, and bones, while in others, deforestation is reducing its habitat. The black-naped fruit-dove is listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN, but its population is declining in some areas.

Conservation efforts are being made to protect the black-naped fruit-dove and its habitat. In the Philippines, the bird is listed as a protected species under the Wildlife Act, which prohibits the hunting and possession of the bird.

In Thailand, the bird is protected under the Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act, which prohibits hunting, possession, and trade of the bird.

Conclusion

The black-naped fruit-dove is a species that has undergone changes in its classification and distribution over the years. It has geographic variation in its appearance and is closely related to other fruit-dove species in the subfamily Treroninae.

The species once had a wider distribution range but has become extinct in some areas due to hunting and habitat loss. Conservation efforts are being made to protect the bird and its habitat, and it is hoped that these efforts will ensure the survival of the species for future generations.

Habitat

The black-naped fruit-dove has a wide distribution range across Southeast Asia and the Philippines. They inhabit a variety of forested habitats, including primary and secondary forests, mangroves, and plantations.

They can also be found in urban areas with trees and parks. Studies have shown that the black-naped fruit-dove depends on forest habitat for survival.

They rely on forest trees and shrubs for food, shelter, and nesting sites. The loss and fragmentation of forest habitat due to urbanization, agriculture, and logging pose a threat to their survival.

Movements and Migration

The black-naped fruit-dove is considered a resident species in its range, meaning that it does not migrate to other areas during the year. However, some movements and local migrations have been observed in some populations.

In the Philippines, the black-naped fruit-dove is known to make altitudinal movements during the breeding season. The birds move to higher elevations to breed, where the temperature is cooler and the vegetation is denser.

Outside of the breeding season, they return to lower elevations where food is more abundant. In some parts of its range, the black-naped fruit-dove is known to make local movements related to the availability of food.

For example, during fruiting season, the birds may move to areas where fruit is abundant. Similarly, during periods of food scarcity, they may move to areas where food is more available.

Studies have shown that urbanization may affect the movements of the black-naped fruit-dove. Birds in urban areas have smaller home ranges and make fewer movements than those in forested areas.

This is because urban areas offer a more predictable food source and limited space for movement. Overall, the black-naped fruit-dove is a non-migratory resident species that depends on forest habitats for survival.

However, their movements can be influenced by factors such as food availability and urbanization.

Conservation Implications

The dependence of the black-naped fruit-dove on forest habitat highlights the importance of conservation efforts to protect forest ecosystems.

Habitat loss and fragmentation due to anthropogenic activities pose a threat to the bird’s survival.

The creation of protected areas and the restoration of degraded forests can be a means of conserving habitats for the species. In addition, the impact of urbanization on the species highlights the need for more environmentally friendly development practices.

Strategies such as green infrastructure and urban forestry can provide habitat for the species in urban areas. Overall, the conservation of the black-naped fruit-dove and its habitat can contribute to the preservation of forest ecosystems and the biodiversity they support.

It is important to safeguard the species and its habitat for future generations to appreciate and benefit from their presence.

Diet and Foraging

The black-naped fruit-dove is a frugivorous species, meaning that it feeds primarily on fruit. Their diet also includes a small amount of insects and other plant material, such as flowers and leaves.

They forage for food in forested habitats, using their sight and sense of smell to locate ripe fruit.

Feeding

The black-naped fruit-dove is a fairly non-aggressive feeder, often waiting for other fruit-eating birds to open up a fruit before feeding on it. They use their bill to pick fruit and swallow it whole.

They have been observed to feed on at least 95 species of fruit trees, including figs, mistletoe, and palm fruits.

Diet

The diet of the black-naped fruit-dove varies depending on the availability of fruit in their habitat. In areas where fruit is scarce, they may rely more heavily on insects and other small animals.

They have been observed to feed on caterpillars, beetles, and ants. However, their diet remains mostly fruit-based.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

The frugivorous diet of the black-naped fruit-dove provides them with an efficient means of energy intake. They have a high digestive efficiency and are able to extract more energy from fruit than carnivorous or insectivorous species.

This is believed to be due to their longer gut and longer retention times of food in their digestive system. As a tropical species, the black-naped fruit-dove is adapted to deal with high temperatures and high humidity.

They are able to regulate their temperature through panting and gular fluttering, which involves rapid movement of the throat muscles to increase air flow across the respiratory surfaces. They are also able to reduce their water loss through excretion and efficient kidneys.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Vocalization

The black-naped fruit-dove is a vocal species, with a variety of calls and songs used for communication. Their vocalizations are used to maintain territories, attract mates, and coordinate with others in their group.

Their most common call is a soft, rapid, and descending “hu-hu-hu-hu-hu”. This call is used to maintain contact with a mate or other members of their group.

They may also make a softer version of this call when approaching a fruit or another bird. During the breeding season, males may sing elaborate songs to attract females.

Their songs are a series of cooing notes that increase in pitch and volume. Studies have shown that males sing less frequently outside of the breeding season, often limiting their singing to morning and evening hours.

Overall, the vocalizations of the black-naped fruit-dove play an important role in their communication and reproductive behaviors. They help maintain social bonds and facilitate breeding.

Behavior

Locomotion

The black-naped fruit-dove is an arboreal species, meaning that it spends most of its time in trees. They use their strong legs and feet to grasp on to branches, and their wings and tail to aid in balance and stabilization.

They are also capable of short flights, but their flight is generally slow and undulating.

Self-Maintenance

The black-naped fruit-dove engages in self-maintenance behaviors such as preening, bathing, and sunning. Preening involves the bird using its bill to clean and oil its feathers, while bathing involves taking a dip in water to clean their feathers thoroughly.

Sunning involves the bird spreading its wings and tail to expose its skin to sunlight, which helps rid the skin of parasites.

Agonistic Behavior

The black-naped fruit-dove may engage in agonistic behaviors, particularly during the breeding season when competition for resources and mates is high. Aggression may involve vocal displays, physical displays such as fluffing up feathers and posturing, and even physical attacks.

Sexual Behavior

The black-naped fruit-dove is a monogamous species, meaning that a male and a female form a pair bond during the breeding season. Males court females through vocal and physical displays, such as singing and bobbing their head.

They may also offer food to the female as a sign of courtship.

Breeding

The breeding season for the black-naped fruit-dove varies depending on location. Birds in the Philippines breed from February to June, while those in Thailand breed from November to April.

During the breeding season, males establish territories and attract females through vocal and physical displays. The pair then constructs a nest of twigs and leaves, either in a tree or shrub.

Females usually lay one or two eggs, which are incubated by both parents for around 14 days. Both parents also share in the feeding and care of the chicks, which fledge after around 18 days.

Demography and Populations

The black-naped fruit-dove is considered to have stable and widespread populations, but localized declines have been observed in some areas. The loss and fragmentation of forest habitats due to human activities pose a threat to the species.

In some countries, hunting also occurs, which can impact local populations. Conservation efforts for the black-naped fruit-dove are focused on protecting forest habitats and promoting sustainable resource use by local communities.

For example, in the Philippines, the bird is protected under the Wildlife Act, which prohibits hunting and possession of the bird. The creation of protected areas and reforestation efforts can also provide habitat for the species.

Monitoring the populations of the black-naped fruit-dove is important to inform conservation efforts. Surveys and monitoring programs can provide data on population trends and distribution, which can be used to identify areas in need of conservation action.

Overall, conservation efforts can contribute to the long-term survival of the species and the ecosystems they inhabit. The black-naped fruit-dove is a fascinating and important species that has adaptations for life in forested habitats, a frugivorous diet, and an intricate breeding system.

It faces threats from habitat loss, hunting, and environmental change, underlining the importance of conservation efforts to preserve its natural habitats and promote sustainable resource use. Through research, monitoring, and education, we can ensure that future generations have the opportunity to appreciate and benefit from the black-naped fruit-dove’s presence, and that we continue to appreciate and understand the importance of preserving and protecting biodiversity.

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