DOVEs and PIGEONs of North America

The Columbiformes order contains just one family, the Columbidae which is comprised of dove and pigeon species. They have small heads,short legs, and four unwebbed toes. All Columbiformes are monogamous. Unlike most other birds they are capable of drinking by sucking up water, without needing to tilt the head back.


New World

Order Columbiformes    Family Columbidae


Genus Claravis
Claravis doves have red eyes and pink legs, and the plumages of the males are primarily light gray-blue, and the females are primarily brown. Both sexes have a series of distinctive spots or bands on the wings. They are fairly arboreal for ground doves. Claravis doves have a distinct fast and rocking flight pattern.

Dove, Blue Ground-  Claravis pretiosa  Found: Mexico to northwestern Peru and northern Argentina; Trinidad
The male Blue Ground-Dove has blue-gray upperparts; paler gray underparts; gray-white face; wings have bold black spots often arranged to form bands; red or yellow iris; green eye-ring; pink legs. Female has ruddy upperparts; gray-brown breast, head, neck; chestnut-brown wing spots; pale blue-gray underwings, belly; chestnut rump, tail.
Image by: 1) Doug Janson  2) Dominic Sherony - Hondorus  3) Jerry Oldenettel - Costa Rica


Dove, Maroon-chested Ground-  Claravis mondetoura  Found: Mexico, Central America, northern South America
The Maroon-cheast Ground-Dove has reddish-eyes; pink legs; blackish-violet wing-bars. Male has dark blue-gray upperparts; whitish forehead, throat; dark maroon breast; blackish primary feathers; dark gray on underwings. Female has gray-brown head; brownish forehead, mainly white throat; dark brown crown, nape, back; brown-gray breast, flanks; paler and grayer belly; grayish-ocre undertail coverts; brownish rump.
Image by: 1) Donna Lynn - Costa Rica



Genus Columbina
Small ground doves found in the New World. Their under-wings are reddish.

Dove, Common Ground- Columbina passerina   Found: The Americas
The Common Ground-Dove has brown back; brown wings with black spots; chestnut primary feathers; yellow bill with black tip; pink feathers around the bill. Feathers on head and breast have scale-like appearance. North America's smallest dove.
Similar to: Inca Dove. Inca dove has scales on back, Common Ground-Dove does not.
Similar to: Rudy Ground-Dove. Common Ground-Dove has scales on breast, Common Ground-Dove does not.
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - Jamaica   2, 3) Dick - Puerto Rico  4) Peter Wallack  5) Dominic Sherony   6) Wilson - Martin Homestead Refuge, Edinburg, Texas



Dove, Inca  Columbina inca   Found: southwestern USA to Costa Rica
The Inca Dove has a gray-brown body with a scaly appearance; long tail; white under-tail. Despite the name they do not occur in any area were the Inca Empire used to be.
Similar to: Common Ground-Dove. Inca dove has scales on back, Common Ground-Dove does not.
Image by:  1) Alan D Wilson - New Mexico  2) C and C Roberson - Texas   3) J N Stuart - Arizona   4) Dick Daniels - Arizona at Desert Museum aviary  5) Dick - National Aviary  5) Elvis Herrera - Mexico 


Dove, Ruddy Ground-  Columbina talpacoti  Found: southwest North America to south South America
The male Rudy Ground_Dove has rufous upperparts; gray head and neck; black spotted wing coverts; pale brown underparts; cinnamon and black under-wings. Female is gray-brown instead of rufous.
Similar to: Common Ground-Dove. Common Ground-Dove has scales on breast, Common Ground-Dove does not.
Similar to: Mourning Dove. Mourning Dove is much larger than Ruddy Ground-Dove.
Image by: 1) Barloventomagico - Venezuela  2) Patty McGann - Panama  3, 4) Dario Sanches - Brazil  5, 6) Dick Daniels - Boquette, Panama




Genus Leptotila
New World tropical and subtropical doves. Mainly found in Central America, northern South America, and the Caribbean.

Dove, Caribbean  Leptotila jamaicensis  Found: Caribbean, Mexico
Image by: 1, 2) Trisha Shears


Dove, Gray-chested  Leptotila cassini   Found: Mexico, Central America, Columbia
Image by: 1) Jerry Oldenettel - Costa Rica


Dove, Gray-headed  Leptotila plumbeiceps  Found: eastern Mexico to Panama, Columbia
The Gray-headed Dove has gray-brown back, wings; gray head; pale underparts; yellow eyes.
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans  2) Amy McAndrews - Mexico


Dove, White-tipped  Leptotila verreauxi  Found: south Texas to South America
The White-tipped Dove has broad white tip on tail, best seen from below or in flight; gray-brown upperparts and wings; light underparts; rufous under-wing; gray head, nape; pale forehead, throat; red or blue eye-ring;
Similar to: White-winged Dove. The White-winged Dove has conspicuous white on its wings; White-tipped Dove doesn't.
Image by: 1) Carol Foil - Belize  2) Kathy and Sam - Costa Rica  3) Jerry Oldenettel - Costa Rica  4, 5) Claudio Timm  6) Alan D Wilson - Ramirez Ranch, Near Roma, Texas  7, 8) Dick Daniels - near Penonome, Panama



Genus Patagioenas
New World Pigeons. Diverged from the Genus Columba over 8 million years ago.

Pigeon, Band-tailed  Patagioenas fasciata   Found: The Americas
The Band-tailed Pigeon has mainly gray plumage; white belly; green iridescence on back of neck with white arc above; yellow bill, feet.
Similar to: Rock Dove. Band-trailed Pigeon has white stripe on nape; Rock Dove does not. Band-trailed Pigeon has yellow bill with black tip; Rock Dove does not have yellow on its bill.
Image by: 1) Alan Vernon - Arizona  2) Gary Kramer, US Fish and Wildlife Service  3) Ingrid Taylar  4) Greg Smith - California


Pigeon, Pale-vented  Patagioenas cayennensis  Found: Mexico to Argentina
The Peruvian Pigeon has mainly dull purple plumage; gray wing covert, rumps; dark gray lower back and tail; light gray lower underparts; black bill.
Image by: 1) Jerry Oldenettel - Costa Rica  2) Claudio Timm


Pigeon, Red-billed  Patagioenas flavirostris  Found: The Americas
Red-billed Pigeon has mainly reddish-purple plumage; gray tail, lower belly; red bill with white tip. Its eyes and legs are red.
Image by: 1) Michael Woodruff - Costa Rica  2) Tom Friedel


Pigeon, Scaled  Patagioenas speciosa  Found: Mexico, Central America, South America
The Scaled Pigeon has reddish-brown upperparts; black and white spotted underparts; purplish head; reddish bill with yellow tip. Female has less boldly speckled underparts.
Image by: 1) Dave Curtis - Panama  2) Diego Calderon - Columbia


Pigeon, Short-billed
  Patagioenas nigrirostris  Found: southern Mexico south to northwestern Colombia.
The Shirt-billed Pigeon has mainly wine-purple plumage; tending to olive-brown on the back; browner on the belly; short black bill; purplish-red eyes, legs. Female slighly duller and browner than male.
Image by: 1) Reinaldo Aguilar - Costa Rica  2) Amy McAndrews - Mexico


Pigeon, White-crowned  Patagioenas leucocephala  Found: The Caribbean and North America (South Florida)
The White-crowned Pigeon has a distinct white crown; mainly dark gray plumage; green and white bars on nape; white iris; pale-tipped red bill.
Image by: 1, 2) Dave Irving - Bahamas; Florida  3, 4) Trisha Shears  - Louisville Zoo



Genus Zenaida

Dove, Mourning Zenaida macroura   Found: North America, Central America, north South America (rare)
The Mourning Doves is name for their sound. It has gray and brown plumage; black spots on back and wings; pale blue eye-ring. Millions are killed each year by hunters, but they are prolific breeders.
Similar to: Ruddy Ground-Dove. Mourning Dove is much larger than Ruddy Ground-Dove.
Image by: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) Dick Daniels - North Carolina  3) Dick - New Hampshire  9, 10) Dick - Arizona
1, 2, 3) Juvenile.


Dove, West Peruvian  also Pacific Dove  Zenaida meloda  Found; southwest Ecuador to north Chile
The West Peruvian Dove has brownish-gray upperparts; gray underparts; white wing marking; bright blue eye-patch.
Similar to: White-winged Dove. Range does not overlap.
Image by: 1) Ecologyweb - Peru  2) Ellen MacDonald - Peru  3) Mark Harper  4) Charlie Westerinen - Lima Peru  5,  6, 7, 8) Dick Daniels - Lima, Peru 


Dove, White-winged Zenaida asiatica   Found: North America, Central Amercia
The White-winged Dove has brownish-gray upperparts; gray underparts; white wing marking; blue eye-patch.
Similar to: White-tipped Dove. The White-winged Dove has conspicuous white on its wings; White-tipped Dove doesn't.
Image by:   1, 2, 3) Dick Daniels - North Carolina Zoo   4) Dick - Jamaica  5, 6, 7, 8) Dick - Puerto Rico   9, 10, 11) Dick - Arizona





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