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Mariana Fruit Dove
Ptilinopus roseicapilla -San Diego Zoo, California, USA-8a
At the San Diego Zoo
Information
Common Name Mwee’mwe, Totot and Paluman Totut
Range Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands in the Pacific.
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Columbiformes
Family Columbidae
Genus Ptilinopus
Species Ptilinopus roseicapilla
Conservation Status
ENSpecies
Endangered

The Mariana fruit dove (Ptilinopus roseicapilla), also known as mwee’mwe in the Carolinian language, totot on Guam or Paluman totut in Northern Marianas Islands, is a small, up to 24 cm long, green fruit dove native and endemic to Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands in the Pacific. It has a red forehead; greyish head, back and breast; and yellow belly patch and undertail coverts.

The female lays a single white egg. The chick and egg are tended to by both parents. Its diet consists mainly of fruits.

Culturally, the Mariana fruit dove is a very important symbol of the region. This species is the official bird of the Northern Marianas Islands. In 2005, the Mariana fruit dove was originally chosen as the official mascot of the 2006 Micronesian Games in Saipan. However, the official website for the games shows a tropicbird as the official symbol instead of the Mariana fruit dove.

The species faces extinction due to habitat loss throughout its range. A larger threat to the Mariana fruit dove has been the accidental introduction of the Brown tree snake to Guam during World War II. The snakes decimated the native bird populations of the island, which were unaccustomed to predators. They are extinct on Guam since 1984 and the Mariana fruit dove is highly endangered on other islands in its range. The spread of the snakes to other Northern Marianas Islands could be devastating. Several zoos have started captive breeding programs. The St. Louis Zoo, in St. Louis, Missouri, has one of the most successful captive breeding programs. The program began in 1993.

Due to ongoing habitat loss, limited range, small population size and invasive alien species, the Mariana fruit dove is evaluated as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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