A large fruit pigeon (Columbidae) from the early Miocene of New Zealand

Trevor H. Worthy, Suzanne J. Hand, Jennifer P. Worthy, Alan J.D. Tennyson, R. Paul Scofield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


We describe a new genus and species of pigeon (Columbiformes) from a single coracoid from the St Bathans Fauna of New Zealand (16-19 mya). It is the first columbid species described from pre-Pliocene deposits in Australasia. Two apomorphies identify the fossil as belonging to the ptilinopine group of fruit pigeons, among which it is most similar to Hemiphaga, the large fruit pigeon currently endemic to the New Zealand biogeographic area. This reveals that the Hemiphaga lineage has been in New Zealand since the Early Miocene, which supports recent divergence-date estimates for Hemiphaga and its modern sister taxon (Lopholaimus) based on molecular data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-656
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Columbidae
  • Hemiphaga
  • Miocene fossil coracoid
  • New Zealand
  • Rupephaps


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