Backyard Birds

Whistling Fruit Doves

The Whistling Fruit Doves, Ptilinopus layardi, is a small fruit dove from Fiji. The species is endemic to the islands of Kadavu and Ono in the Kadavu Group in the south of Fiji. It is the most primitive of the “golden doves” a small subgroup of the genus Ptilinopus which includes two other small Fijian fruit doves, the Golden Fruit Dove and the Orange Fruit Dove.

The group was once split into its own genus, Chrysoenas. The species has two other common names, the Velvet Dove and the Yellow-headed Dove.


The Whistling Fruit Dove is a small dove (20 cm) that is sexually dimorphic in its velvety plumage. The plumage of the male is dark green with a yellow head and undertail coverts, the female lacks the yellow plumage.

Calls / Vocalizations

They are difficult to see in the forest canopy but can be found due to their distinctive whistling call, a clear rising whistle followed by a falling ‘tinkle’ (Pratt et al 1987).

Diet / Feeding

The species feeds on fruits in the canopy.

Breeding / Nesting

The breeding of this species has not been studied much, a nest described in 1982 was a ‘loose thin platform’ constructed with twig-like vines 3m above the ground (Beckon 1982).

When breeding only the female takes care of the young, an unusual adaption within the pigeon family. This difference in the levels of parental care has been suggested as an explnation of the sexual dimorphism in the golden doves. A single nestling was described.


The Whistling Dove is considered near threatened by the IUCN. The species is currently common in the forests of Kadavu and Ono, with an estimated population of 10,000 birds (BirdLife Intenational 2006). However it has a restriced range and it is declining due to habitat loss.

Further Dove Information


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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