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Ruddy Ground-Dove
Columbina talpacoti

Columbiformes Order – Columbidae Family

Length: M: 15-18 cm – F: 14-18 cm
Weight: M: 40-57 g – F: 35-51 g

Ruddy Ground-Dove is a small New World Columbidae.

Adult male has reddish-brown upperparts. Upperwing shows black spots on coverts. Primaries are black tinged rufous on inner webs.

Underparts are paler. Underwing shows blackish coverts and axillaries, and reddish-brown flight feathers.
Undertail coverts are dark rufous. Central pair of rectrices is brown whereas outer feathers are black with pale chestnut tips.

Head shows pale blue-grey forehead, crown and nape. Face, chin and throat are pinkish.
The bill is dark brown to blackish. Eyes are dark brown with red outer ring, and narrow grey eye-ring. Legs and feet are pink.

Ruddy Ground-Dove is common to abundant in some parts of the range, and local in others.
The range of this species is expanding, due to deforestation and increasing of cultivated areas. It seems to be able to adapt to human developments, and expands successfully into cities.

Fr: Colombe rousse
All : Rosttäubchen
Esp: Columbina Colorada
Ital: Tortora di Talpacot
Nd: Steenduif
Russe: Коричневая карликовая горлица
Sd: Rostmarkduva

Photographs by Patrick Ingremeau

Text by Nicole Bouglouan


HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD vol 4 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliott-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions - ISBN: 8487334229

PIGEONS AND DOVES by David Gibbs, Eustace Barnes and John Cox - Pica Press Sussex - ISBN: 1873403607

Avibase (Lepage Denis)

BirdLife International (BirdLife International)

Discovering the birds of Trinidad and Tobago (Brian Ramsey)

What Bird-The ultimate Bird Guide (Mitchell Waite)

Wikipedia (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia)


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Page Family Columbidae

Summary cards



Female has similar plumage and pattern but duller and paler, more grey-brown with brighter rump and uppertail coverts.
Juvenile is buffier and duller. Wings are less marked black.  

We find four subspecies sharing the wide range. They differ in colour intensity.

Ruddy Ground-Dove utters a monotonous series of cooing sounds in rapid succession “croo oo-croo oo-croo-oo…”.
Usually, most members of the New World ground doves of genus “Columbina” utter mainly soft coos such as “wooh” or “woop”.

Ruddy Ground-Dove frequents mainly wet areas, open country with scattered trees, thickets, scrub, savannahs, marshes, forest edges, cultivated fields and even towns. The species is visible from sea-level up to 2600 metres of elevation.

Ruddy Ground-Dove is found from Mexico, south to Central ad South America, Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, northern Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago.
The species is resident throughout the range, but it may perform irregular movements to SW USA during winter, and to the southern parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.   

Ruddy Ground-Dove feeds primarily on seeds of introduced and native grasses. It may also take spilled grain, and some human food such as bread crumbs, and occasionally insects, snails and berries.
This dove forages on the ground in the leaf-litter, and mainly in open areas. It is usually seen in pairs or in small groups of 10-20 birds, but large flocks of up to 200 birds can be observed. They often occur in mixed flocks with other Columbidae species.

During displays, male calls from low perch or even from the ground all day round. Displays consist in bowing repeatedly in front of the female, bobbing the head, with dropped and quivering wings. At the same time, the tail is raised and slightly fanned.

Some disputes may occur between males. Each male tries to strike the opponent with one or both wings. They also fly upwards and try to fall down onto the rival. 

Ruddy Ground-Dove performs fast, low, direct flight with regular wing-beats. If surprised, the bird takes off suddenly with an audible noise produced by the strong wing-beats.

Breeding season varies according to the range. This species may breed in all months in Central America, on Trinidad and in most parts of Brazil.

Ruddy Ground-Dove’s nest, as almost all Columbidae, is a loose platform made with grasses and stems, and often lined with rootlets or grasses. The nest is placed in dense shrub, about 7 metres above the ground, and built by both adults.

Female lays 2 white eggs. Incubation lasts about 11-13 days, by both parents which take turns. Chicks are fed mainly with crop milk during the first days of their life, and little by little, other food items are added.
Youngs fledge 11-13 days after hatching.
This species produces several broods per year, and the same nest is often reused.    

Ruddy Ground-Dove feeds mainly on seeds, as well of introduced grass such as Brachiaria plantaginea, as the native Paspalum convexum. It also takes spilled grain, a few insects and snails, and some berries.
They feed on the ground in the leaf-litter.