Reports from the 19th and 20th centuries suggest that Many-coloured Fruit-doves were once extremely common. They are now quite rare, although large groups still congregate in feeding trees. Unfortunately this behaviour makes them easy to hunt.
In Samoa, severe cyclones in the early 1990s destroyed many ancient banyan trees. Further forest clearing following human expansion has reduced the habitat available for these birds, which prefer mature trees for feeding.
Amazing Many-coloured Fruit-doves
These small, colourful doves feed on fruit exclusively. The gizzard (muscular second stomach) of this species is specialised for digesting fruit. The wall of the gizzard carries ridges and nodules to crush the soft skin and flesh of the fruit, and the seeds are passed out undigested.
Many-coloured Fruit-doves live almost entirely in the forest canopy and rarely come to ground. They move around the forest, following the seasonal ripening of fruits. Small figs called banyans are particularly important in their diet, especially in Samoa. Fruiting banyan trees can be filled with lively, feasting fruit-doves squabbling over the figs.
Although they are a similar size, males and females of this species look very different. The males are pale yellow-white with crimson patches on their heads, shoulders, breasts and beneath their tails. Their wings and backs are lime and emerald green with grey markings. Females, however, are mostly grey-green and dark emerald. They also have red patches but may be yellow under their tails.
Little is known about the breeding behaviour of Many-Coloured Fruit-doves. They seem to nest all year round; pairs bond through mutual preening and take turns to incubate their 1–2 pure white eggs. After three weeks the hatchlings emerge with a thin cover of down. The parents secrete a nourishing substance called crop milk to feed the young.