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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 21:20 EDT

Ruddy Ground Dove

The Ruddy Ground Dove (Columbina talpacoti), is a small New World tropical dove. It is a resident breeder from Mexico south to Peru, Brazil and Paraguay, and northern Argentina, and on Trinidad and Tobago. Individual birds can sometimes be seen in southwestern USA, from southern Texas to southernmost California, primarily during the winter months.

Ruddy Ground Doves are small short-tailed pigeons, 6.75 inches long with a weight normally about 1.7 ounces. Adult males have a pale gray head and neck, and rich reddish upperparts, black-spotted on the wing coverts. The underparts are paler brown, the tail is edged black, and the under wings are cinnamon and black. The female is gray-brown rather than reddish, and has less contrast between head and body than the male.

The Ruddy Ground Dove is very common in scrub and other open country, including cultivation. It builds a solid cup-shaped stick nest in a tree and lays two white eggs. Incubation is 12″“13 days with another 12″“14 days to fledging. There may be a second or third brood.

Its flight is fast and direct, with the regular beats and an occasional sharp flick of the wings which are characteristic of pigeons in general. This species can be quite approachable. Males frequently threaten each other, and brief fights may ensue. Ruddy Ground Doves feed mainly on seeds. The call is a soft cooing cur-WOO.

Ruddy Ground Dove