Length, 53-56 cm
Estimated at 100-250
Restricted to mature forest of Nuku Hiva and Ua Huka in the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia
Neighborhoods matter. The Marquesan imperial-pigeon has found a very fortunate one: forest patches and remote valley bottoms between volcanic ridges. This home is inaccessible enough that poachers and introduced grazers have rarely made an appearance—yet. The elusive bird has been a boon to its location, too: the tireless fruit-eater swallows seeds whole and disperses them throughout the area. But the pigeon is obliged to leave its stronghold to forage for food. And while it once had a presence on four island chains, its range has dwindled to a precarious 32 square kilometers. A few roads and there goes the neighborhood.