White-throated Ground-dove
Gallicolumba xanthonura

Range and population

Gallicolumba xanthonura occurs widely in the Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) and on Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia, where it inhabits native forest, secondary forest, plantations, introduced tangan-tangan Leucaena leucocephala thickets and habitat mosaics including fields, but appears more frequent in native forest than in disturbed habitats1,2,3,4. It has become extirpated from Guam (to USA ) owing to predation by the introduced brown tree snake Boiga irregularis, and although single birds turn up once every few years, these are almost certainly individuals dispersing from the island of Rota , 60 km to the north5. The highest population is probably on Rota where c.2,400 birds were estimated in 19822. It is fairly common on Saipan where up to 72 birds/km2 were recorded in limestone forest in 1991-19931. It is rare on Yap where the population was estimated at c.195 in 19843. The species can still be legally hunted in the Northern Mariana Islands5 and must be affected by habitat loss, but the greatest threat would come from the accidental introduction of B. irregularis to other islands in its range.

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