Saint Helena dove

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The Saint Helena dove (Dysmoropelia dekarchiskos) was a species of flightless bird in the family Columbidae. It is monotypic within the genus Dysmoropelia.[1] It was endemic to the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is known from remains of Late Pleistocene[2] (formerly considered to be Middle Pleistocene[3]) age found at the Sugarloaf Hill locality, which consists of aeolian calcareous sands.[3] The holotype consists of a right coracoid (USNM 175955), with paratypes consisting of "distal end of right tarsometatarsus (Ashmole No. 342), (S/1963.25.29) distal half of right humerus (Ashmole No. 337), (S/1963.25.26) worn left tibiotarsus lacking distal end (Kerr No. E4), (S/ 1963.25.27) distal portion of shaft of left tarsometatarsus (Kerr No. E3), (S/1963.25.30) worn proximal end of right humerus. (USNM 175956) left ulna, (175957 and 175958) proximal fragments of left ulnae, (175959) proximal end of right femur, (175962) distal end of right humerus"[3]

Saint Helena dove
Temporal range: Late Pleistocene
LPaloma de santa Elena.png
Hypothetical restoration
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Columbiformes
Family: Columbidae
Genus: Dysmoropelia
Olson, 1975
D. dekarchiskos
Binomial name
Dysmoropelia dekarchiskos
Olson, 1975
Location of Saint Helena

It was a fairly large bird with short wings relative to body size and robust legs, with among the most extreme morphological adaptions of flightless Columbids, akin to that of the Dodo, Rodrigues solitaire and Viti Levu giant pigeon.[4] It was presumed to have been hunted to extinction soon after the island's discovery in 1502. However, no accounts of the bird exist (Introductions were made very early on in the history of Saint Helena, and the accounts are therefore less useful) and Lewis (2008) suggests the bird became extinct prior to or during the Last Glacial Maximum.[2] It has been suggested on morphological grounds that it is most closely related to Streptopelia turtle doves.[5][3]


  1. ^ *BirdLife International 2004. Dysmoropelia dekarchiskos. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 24 July 2007.
  2. ^ a b Lewis, Colin A. (October 2008). "The Late Glacial and Holocene avifauna of the island of St Helena, South Atlantic Ocean". Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa. 63 (2): 128–144. doi:10.1080/00359190809519217. ISSN 0035-919X. S2CID 84064599.
  3. ^ a b c d Olson, Storrs L. (1975). "Paleornithology of St. Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean". Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology (23): 1–49. doi:10.5479/si.00810266.23.1. ISSN 0081-0266.
  4. ^ Hume, Julian P. (Julian Pender), author. (2017-08-24). Extinct birds. ISBN 978-1-4729-3745-2. OCLC 999613814.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Ashmole, Philip. (2000). St Helena and Ascension Island : a natural history. Ashmole, Myrtle. Oswestry: A. Nelson. ISBN 0-904614-61-1. OCLC 45690660.