The white-naped pigeon’s most distinguishing feature is the bright, white patch that extends from the back of the head, above the eye, to the nape of the neck. The rest of the plumage is mostly slate-grey, with exception of the mantle, which is dark purple with grey fringes, and the tail feathers, which are a whitish-grey. The eyes are yellow and surrounded by an orange-red outer ring, while the bill is yellow, becoming purplish-black towards the base. The juvenile’s plumage is mostly dark brown on the body with reddish-brown fringes on the mantle and breast, and grey on the head and tail (2).
Little is currently known about the biology of the white-naped pigeon. Observations in the field have reported that it generally occupies the mid to upper levels of the forest, rarely descending to ground level, and feeds on berries and fruit. Records of its reproductive biology are limited to a single bird found in breeding condition during February, and a nest with one white egg located in vegetation, which had regrown after forest clearance (2).
The white-naped pigeon has a patchy range; it is mainly found in north-eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, with a few recorded sightings in western Uganda and southern Sudan. It is also found in Cameroon, with sightings clustered around the mountainous regions to the west (3).
Forest clearance for agriculture and logging are ongoing problems in all parts of the white-naped pigeon’s range. Despite the protected status of some areas, poor enforcement of regulations and political turmoil mean that the forests in these areas continue to be degraded and destroyed (4)(5). Although the white-naped pigeon is currently locally common in some areas, its fragmented distribution and restricted range make it highly vulnerable to habitat loss and, in the absence of effective conservation measures, it may undergo a rapid decline (2)(3).
There are currently no conservation measures in place for the white-naped pigeon (2). A number of protected areas currently exist in the Democratic Republic of Congo and many more have been proposed, but due to poverty and continued conflict, maintaining protection of these sites is proving challenging (5). The Wildlife Conservation Society is working with local communities to try to develop sustainable ways of preserving the forests and their wildlife, while maintaining the people’s livelihoods (6).
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