Negros bleeding-heart -- 尼格鸡鸠 (Gallicolumba keayi)

Negros bleeding-heart chick
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Negros bleeding-heart fact file

Negros bleeding-heart description

GenusGallicolumba (1)

This peculiarly coloured pigeon is one of five bleeding-heart species, called so because of the large blood-red patch on the breast (2) (3). The ‘bleeding-heart’ varies slightly in shape and colour among species; the Negros bleeding-heart having a narrower red patch on its white breast than other bleeding-hearts (2). It has dark chestnut upperparts with a reddish-purple gloss, creamy-buff underparts, and an iridescent green head and neck (4). It also has a noticeable greyish-white band across its folded wing (2).

Size: 30 cm (2)

Negros bleeding-heart biology

The scientific name of the Negros bleeding-heart hints at the behaviour of this bird. Galli means chicken and columba means pigeon, and this pigeon spends much of its time on the ground searching for food, like a chicken (6), only flying up into trees to roost, take cover or breed (7). Unfortunately, very little information exists regarding the diet and breeding behaviour of this bird, possibly due to its rarity. However, clutches of two eggs were found on the island of Panay in March (8), and the development of two chicks on Panay was closely observed, with the first chick hatching on the 31st May, and the fledging of both chicks on the 12th and 13th June, respectively (9).


Negros bleeding-heart range

Found only in the Philippines, on the islands of Negros and Panay (1).


Negros bleeding-heart habitat

The Negros bleeding-heart inhabits primary forest from 300 to 1000 metres (1) (2). Based on observations, it is not thought that this bird can inhabit secondary forest (5).


Negros bleeding-heart status

Classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Critically Endangered


Negros bleeding-heart threats

Like the four other bleeding-heart species that occur in the Philippines, the Negros bleeding-heart is greatly threatened by the destruction of its habitat. In 1988, only four percent of forest cover remained on Negros, and Panay held on to just eight percent of its forest. This alarming loss is due to the clearance of forest for agriculture, timber and charcoal-burning, and these activities remain a serious threat to the remaining fragments of forest. The effect of this devastating habitat destruction is aggravated by local trapping and hunting of the Negros bleeding-heart for food and, presumably, for the cage-bird trade (1). As a result of these threats, the extremely small population of Negros bleeding-hearts, (estimated to be between 50 and 249 individuals), is still declining (4), which makes it extremely vulnerable to extinction.


Negros bleeding-heart conservation

Despite the precarious status of the Negros bleeding-heart, there are very few specific conservation measures in place. It occurs within the Mount Canlaon Natural Park on Negros, and possibly also in the North Negros Forest Reserve. However, the North Negros Forest Reserve receives virtually no protection at present (7). On Panay, it occurs in the North West Panay Peninsula, which was proclaimed a Protected Area in 2001. Forest Rangers, of the Philippine Endemic Species Conservation Project (PESCP), patrol this area, and the northern part of the Central Panay Mountain Range, destroying snares and curbing illegal logging. PESCP also ran an Airgun-for-Rice programme as an intervention against hunting in the region; a large number of airguns were destroyed as a result of the programme (5) (10).

Several conservation actions are required to reduce the risk of extinction to the Negros bleeding-heart, primarily the protection of key areas where this species occurs, and the increased protection of existing reserves and parks. Searches for the Negros bleeding-heart should be undertaken, to identify important forest fragments where it occurs, and the initiation of reforestation activities is also recommended (7). Unlike the Mindanao bleeding-heart this species is not yet bred in captivity. Some organizations advocate the captive breeding of the Negros bleeding-heart to prevent its extinction, with the final aim of releasing the birds back into the wild once their habitat has been secured (6). However, given sufficient habitat protection and law enforcement on Panay, it is believed that the species can be saved through pure in situ operation (5).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

For further information on the Negros bleeding-heart see:

  • BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.



Authenticated (26/04/2007) by Dr Eberhard Curio of the Conservation Biology Unit, Ruhr-Universitaet Bochum.



In situ
Measures to conserve a species or habitat that occur inside of the natural range of the species.
Primary forest
Forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.
Secondary forest
Regenerating forest that has not yet reached the mature state of primary forest.


  1. IUCN Red List (May, 2008)
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1997) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. Haribon Foundation (April, 2007)
  4. Birdlife International (April, 2007)
  5. Curio, E. (2007) Pers. comm.
  6. Bristol Zoo Gardens (April, 2007)
  7. BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.
  8. Curio, E. (2001) Taxonomic status of the Negros Bleeding-heart Gallicolumba keayi from Panay, Philippines, with notes on its behaviour. Forktail, 17: 13 - 19.
  9. Slade, E.M., Villanueva, J.F., Tacud, B. and Curio, E. (2005) First nesting observations of the Negros bleeding-heart Gallicolumba keayi from Panay, Philippines. Forktail, 21: 161 - 163.
  10. Philippine Endemic Species Conservation Project, Thirteenth Annual Report (April, 2007)

Image credit

Negros bleeding-heart chick  
Negros bleeding-heart chick

© Fletcher & Baylis

Wildside Photography


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