Nature conservation

Threatened species

Superb Fruit-Dove - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Ptilinopus superbus
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Profile last updated: 11 Oct 2022


The Superb Fruit-dove is a small pigeon, approximately 24 cm in length. The male is brightly coloured, with golden-green upperparts, a brilliant orange-vermilion neck, and a rich purple crown. The tail is short and tipped with white. The throat and breast are grey with a lilac tinge, and a broad black band on the lower breast separates the grey breast from the creamy-white belly and green flanks. The female is light green on the back, has a small purple spot on the crown, and no dark breast band. The call is a distinctive cooing, rising in pitch and volume to a loud and clear ‘whoop, whoop’. Also gives a low ‘oom’ in a steady sequence.


The Superb Fruit-dove occurs principally from north-eastern in Queensland to north-eastern NSW. It is much less common further south, where it is largely confined to pockets of suitable habitat as far south as Moruya. There are records of vagrants as far south as eastern Victoria and Tasmania.

Habitat and ecology

  • Inhabits rainforest and similar closed forests where it forages high in the canopy, eating the fruits of many tree species such as figs and palms. It may also forage in eucalypt or acacia woodland where there are fruit-bearing trees.
  • Part of the population is migratory or nomadic. There are records of single birds flying into lighted windows and lighthouses, indicating that birds travel at night. At least some of the population, particularly young birds, moves south through Sydney, especially in autumn.
  • Breeding takes place from September to January. The nest is a structure of fine interlocked forked twigs, giving a stronger structure than its flimsy appearance would suggest, and is usually 5-30 metres up in rainforest and rainforest edge tree and shrub species.
  • The male incubates the single egg by day, the female incubates at night.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
NSW North CoastCoffs Coast and Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastComboyne Plateau Known None
NSW North CoastDalmorton Known None
NSW North CoastKaruah Manning Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Hastings Known None
NSW North CoastUpper Manning Known None
OceanHawkesbury Shelf Known None
OceanTweed-Moreton Known None
OceanTwofold Shelf Known None
Other StateJervis Bay Territory Predicted None
Other StateQLD Known None
Other StateVIC Known None
South East CornerBateman Known None
South East CornerSouth East Coastal Ranges Known None
South Eastern QueenslandBurringbar-Conondale Ranges Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Sandstones Predicted None
South Eastern QueenslandScenic Rim Known None
South Eastern QueenslandSunshine Coast-Gold Coast Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandWoodenbong Known None
Sydney BasinCumberland Known None
Sydney BasinHunter Known None
Sydney BasinIllawarra Known None
Sydney BasinJervis Known None
Sydney BasinPittwater Known None
Sydney BasinWyong Known None