Columba vitiensis   (Quoy & Gaimard)

Lord Howe White-throated Pigeon
(Columba vitiensis godmanae (Mathews))

syn. Janthoenas godmanae (Mathews), Raperia godmanae (Mathews)


Australia: Lord Howe Island

local name: -

size: ca. 47 cm (length) (?)

extinction date: around 1853

This, obviously quite large, subspecies of the White-throated Pigeon is not least known from several more or less 'pretty' drawings, but also for example from a quite accurate description in John Latham's book 'A General History of Birds' Vol. 8 from the year 1823. Here the following lines can be read.:


LENGTH eighteen inches. Head, neck, and breast, purple; nape glossed with green; chin and throat white; the rest of the body cinnamon-colour. Inhabits Howe's Island.

According to D. Gibbs and E. Barnes (Pigeons and Doves, A Guide to the Pigeons and Doves of the World) there allegedly is also a description in this book, which may indicate another, yet extinct, subspecies from the Tongan Vava'u archipelago.


Other subspecies of the White-throated Pigeon can still be found on the Lesser Sunda Islands, the Philippines, the Moluccas, in New Guinea, on the Solomon Islands, in New Caledonia, on the Fiji Islands and on Western Samoa.


Lord Howe White-throated Pigeon (Columba vitiensis godmanae)

Depiction from 'Album of watercolour drawings of Australian natural history, owned by Robert Anderson Seton, ca. 1800'

by courtesy of Jennifer Broomhead / State Library of New South Wales


- G. M. Mathews: Raperia godmanae. A new bird from Lord Howe Island, now extinct. Austral Avian Rec. 3: 21-24. 1915
- Dieter Luther: Die ausgestorbenen Vögel der Welt. Westarp Wissenschaften 1986
- Errol Fuller: Extinct Birds. Penguin Books (England) 1987
- David Gibbs, Eustace Barnes, John Cox: Pigeons and Doves, A Guide to the Pigeons and Doves of the World. Pica Press, Sussex 2001