If the Filpeanut website counted correctly, there are 186 avian species endemic to the Philippines, and twenty-two of them are dangerously close to extinction. The Mindoro imperial-pigeon is one of them.
The scientific name of the Mindoro imperial-pigeon is Ducula mindorensis (J. Whitehead, 1896)
Ducula is a genus name invented by Hodgson in 1836. However, J. Whitehead did not place the Mindoro imperial-pigeon in the genus Ducula. As we learn from Avibase and other websites, he called this species Carpophaga mindorensis. At a later date, the species was removed from Carpophaga and placed in Ducula.
Ducula is not in my Latin dictionary because the ancient Romans did not use it. Slovar-Vocab, quoting Webster’s New International English Dictionary, states that it is new Latin, which means that the word was invented sometime after 476 A. D., when the reign of Emperor Romulus Augustulus came to an end.
The specific name mindorensis means that it is an inhabitant of Mindoro, s moderately large island about 75 miles south of Manila as the crow flies. Needless to say, this term mindorensis is also new Latin.
This species belongs to the kingdom Animalia, the phylum Chordata, the class Aves, the order Columbiformes. and the family Columbidae. The last two terms are derived from columba, an ancient Latin word meaning “dove,” or “pigeon.” In modern zoology, Columba is a genus in the same family Ducula. For example, the rock dove is Columba livia.
Since this species is endemic to the island of Mindoro, it apparently does not travel to neighboring islands. It does not have to fly south for the winter, since Mindoro is in the tropics.
According to the IUCN Red List, it does make minor seasonal movements for dietary reasons. As the protonym Carpophaga implies, the Mindoro imperial-pigeon eats fruit. As a result, it heads for areas in which fruit is currently ready to eat.
It lives in moist tropical forests. Scientists used to think that this species generally lived more than 1,000 meters above sea level. However, “during field work in 1991, most observations were made in understory trees of the lowest-altitude forests remaining (between 800 and 950 m), with only two noted above 1,000 m,” according to the IUCN Red List.
Mindoro imperial-pigeons are beautiful birds. John Whitehead, who first described them scientifically, thoroughly enjoyed watching them. Philpeanut quotes him as saying: “It was only these splendid pigeons that kept me at an elevation of nearly 5,000 feet in the wet season of Mindoro.” (Incidentally, this quote shows that contrary to the field observations of 1991, John Whitehead found plenty of Mindoro imperial-pigeons at altitudes well above 1,000 meters. Perhaps the reason for their shrinking range is declining numbers.)
According to BirdLife International, its head, its neck, and most of its underparts are light blue-gray in color. Its forehead, its lower face, and its throat are pinkish. Its hindneck and mantle are bronzy-red. Its lower back, rump, and wings are emerald green. Its vent and undertail-coverts are washed rufous. Its iris is yellow, its bill is dark, and its legs have a reddish color.
In my opinion, it is the combination of rufous red and emerald green that makes this bird so beautiful.