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Ptilinopus melanospila, Black-naped Fruit-Dove
Dr. Ashley Gosselin-Ildari - Duke University
Ptilinopus melanospila
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Texas Memorial Museum (uncatalogued)

Image processing: Mr. Stephen Roberson
Publication Date: 10 Jan 2005

upper body | head only


The black-naped fruit-dove (Ptilinopus melanospila) is geographically distributed throughout Java, the Celebes Sea, the Moluccas Islands, and the Southern Philippines (Delacour, 1947; del Hoyo et al., 1997; Gibbs et al., 2001; Schleucher, 2002). The species is sexually dichromatic. The body of males is mostly green, however the head and neck are pale gray, the chin, throat, and lower belly are yellow, and there is a black spot on the nape of the neck. In contrast, females are almost entirely green (Delacour, 1947; del Hoyo et al., 1997; Gibbs et al., 2001). Length ranges from 21-27 cm and the wingspan ranges from 11-17 cm. Weight is typically between 92-120 g (del Hoyo et al., 1997; Gibbs et al., 2001).

The genus Ptilinopus includes all fruit-doves, with a total of 51 species. The genus probably originated in New Guinea but now has a geographical distribution throughout Southeast Asia and Australia (Gibbs et al., 1997). All species of Ptilinopus are mostly frugivorous; P. melanospila is exclusively so (Schleucher, 2002).

The habitat of the black-naped fruit dove is located in tropical or temperate climates and includes forests, forest edge, and scrub lands (Sibley and Monroe, 1990; Schleucher, 2002). Individuals often are found in agricultural areas or on isolated fruit trees (del Hoyo et al., 1997; Schleucher, 2002). The black-nape fruit dove has been observed to migrate locally to regions of high food abundance.

The black-naped fruit-dove subsists on fruit and berries, especially figs. Individuals typically are solitary or occur in pairs, although large groups are known to form at fruit trees. The breeding season varies considerably according to geographic location of a population. For example, in Java the breeding season occurs from February to September and also in December. In Wallacea breeding occurs in September and May and in Sabah in October. Nests are platform shaped and formed out of twigs and grass stems. Typically, nests are not placed high above ground level (Gibbs et al., 2001). Like breeding, the nesting period also varies throughout the geographical distribution of the species (del Hoyo et al., 1997). Clutch size is one egg and in captivity the incubation period has been recorded as 18-26 days (del Hoyo et al., 1997).

Additional Information on the Skull and Upper Body

Click on the thumbnails below for labeled images of the skull and upper body in standard anatomical views.

Dorsal view

Lateral view

Ventral view

About the Species

This specimen (990370) was made available to the University of Texas High-Resolution X-ray CT Facility for scanning by Dr. Timothy Rowe of the Department of Geological Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin. Funding for image processing was provided by a National Science Foundation Digital Libraries Initiative grant to Dr. Rowe.

Ptilinopus melanspila

Dorsal view of specimen

About this Specimen

The specimen was scanned by Matthew Colbert on 28 September 2004 along the coronal axis for a total of 600 slices, each slice 0.121 mm thick with an interslice spacing of 0.121 mm.

About the


del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott, and J. Sargatal (eds.). 1997. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 4. Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Delacour, J. 1947. Birds of Malaysia. The Macmillan Company, New York, NY. pp 382.

Gibbs, D., E. Barnes, and J. Cox. 2001. Pigeons and Doves. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. 615 pp.

Schleucher, E. 2002. Metabolism, body temperature and thermal conductance of fruit-doves (Aves: Columbidae, Treroninae). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A 131:417-428.

Sibley, C. G., and B. L. Monroe Jr. 1990. Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. 1111 pp.


Ptilinopus melanospila page at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park

& Links

None available.


To cite this page: Dr. Ashley Gosselin-Ildari, 2005, "Ptilinopus melanospila" (On-line), Digital Morphology. Accessed July 24, 2024 at http://digimorph.org/specimens/Ptilinopus_melanospila/whole/.

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