A male Black-naped Fruit Dove Ptilinopus melanospila swallowing a whole ripe Ficus drupacea fig growing in remnant coastal forest at the Tip of Borneo in Kudat District, Sabah.

The Black-naped Fruit Dove is  an important disperser of fig seeds between the small  islands off the coast of Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Mindanao and Sulawesi. This fruit dove is an island specialist, and only rarely visits the mainland when fig trees are fruiting.

Note that  Black-naped Fruit Dove co-occurs  with the much more common Pink-necked Green Pigeon. However the gape (throat)  of Pink-necked Green Pigeons is not wide enough to swallow Ficus drupacea figs whole, even though the Pink-necked Green Pigeon is slightly larger (29 “) than Black-naped Fruit Dove (27”). This means that Black-naped Fruit Doves get first choice of the crop and Pink-necked Green Pigeons have to wait until the figs are over ripe and can be  pecked and swallowed in pieces.

All fruit dove photos by Eugene Cheah taken on 01 January 2020.