The Manumea

There is probably no other bird on this planet that comes more closely to what could be called a cryptid than the Manumea, the Tooth-billed Pigeon (Didunculus strigirostris (Jardine)) of Samoa.

The species is known to inhabit, or at least to have inhabited, the rainforests of the islands of Nu’ulua, Savai’i and ‘Upolu, Western Samoa; in prehistorical times it was even more widespread. Nearly nothing is known about this species: the breeding behavior is still unknown, the same more or less applies to basically all of the bird’s habits.

As far as I know there are only about five or so photos of living individuals of the species, most of them, if not all, show the same bird that was kept in captivity for some time.

The latest sightings were of a juvenile bird in 2013, which also was photographed; than a bird was seen and heard calling in 2020, however, no photo had been taken this time. [1]


The Manumea is currently not kept in captivity and the wild population is estimated to be less than 100 – to about 300 birds, that’s not much and the species is in immediate danger of extinction.

Wouldn’t it be phantastic if even only a fraction of the amounts of money that are spend to prove the existence of such phantasy creatures like Bigfoot, Chupacabra or Mokele Mbembe would be used for something useful, for the search for the Manumea, for the rescue of this enigmatic yet indeed existing bird?!



[1] Sapeer Mayron: Near-extinct manumea spotted in Savai’i. Samoa Observer 25/08/2020


Photo: Augustin Kramer

(public domain)


edited: 03.11.2021