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Contribution to the knowledge of the New Caledonian imperial pigeon Ducula goliath (gray 1859) with emphasis on sexual dimorphism

Barré N., De Garine-Wichatitsky M., Lecoq R., Maillard J.C.. 2003. Notornis, 50 (3) : p. 155-160.

Hunters of the endemic imperial pigeon (Ducula goliath) or notou in the Forêt Plate site, New Caledonia, in Apr 2001 and Mar 2002, allowed us to collect some biological material, measurements and descriptions from 63 pigeons. The sample included 5 immature imperial pigeons, and 58 adults. Several measurements of adult birds differed significantly between the sexes: weight, body length, wing length, tail length, tarsus length, and head length and width being greater in males (n = 28) than females (n = 30). A cross?validated classification using a discriminant function analysis on these variables allowed 74% of the birds to be correctly classified as male or female. None of the qualitative characters (colour of skin, bill, iris, feet, feathers) was different between the sexes. Sexing birds using a bio?molecular analysis proved to be 100% reliable. The small gonads and the thin wall of the midgut indicated that the notou were not breeding at the time of collection. They had completed, or almost so, their wing moult. Fruits of 22 tree species and the leaves of trees and ferns were identified in material taken from digestive tracts. No internal parasites and few external parasites ? of a low pathogenicity ?were recorded. These results improve knowledge of this endemic species and should be useful in this popular game bird's conservation and management. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : biométrie; organisme indigène; classification; conformation animale; pigeon; nouvelle-calédonie; ducula goliath

Thématique : Ecologie animale

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