Totot: Extinct on Guam

Scientific Name: Ptilinopus roseicapilla (Family COLUMBIDAE)

Common Name: Rose capped fruit dove

CHamoru Name: Totot or Tottot

Audio sample of the Totot

Habitat and Natural History: The totot lives in the limestone forest and in secondary growth canopies. They feed on fruit, largely papaya, figs and inkberry. They make flimsy nests in the forks of trees. They are shy, staying high in the tree canopy. They lay a single egg in a bare twig platform nest in the fork of a tree. Nests are found six to twenty feet above the ground.

Description: The totot are small, about 24 centimeters long. The forehead is red. The head, back and breast are grey with a yellow underbelly. Males and females look the same. Juvenile birds are completely green.

Range: Guam; Rota, Tinian, Saipan and Agiguan in the Northern Mariana islands. Endemic to the Mariana Islands.

Current Status: The totot is currently listed as an endangered species in the CNMI. It was extirpated from Guam since the arrival of the brown treesnake. The totot was once the official bird of Guam. In 2000, however, the official bird was changed to the ko’ko’ in an effort to highlight the uniqueness of this endemic species, and also to highlight the captive-breeding program at DAWR. Totot are occasionally seen around the island as visitors.

Threats: Habitat loss and predation by the Brown tree snake and over hunting.

By Gretchen R. Grimm, MS