Birds

Common Ground Dove
Columbina passerina

Habitat:

This dove forages on the ground and is frequently seen along paths such as the Railway Trail where there is tree cover close by. It may also be seen in woodland, fields and parks.

Characteristics:

The Common Ground Dove is plump-looking but very small dove reaching only 6 1/2 inches or 17 centimetres in length. They are most frequently seen in pairs. The light bluish-grey areas of the head and breast are coloured to look like scales. This dove is generally pale blue-grey on the upper surfaces and pinkish-brown on the lower surfaces. The base of the beak is pink as are the legs. Males have a grey crown while females have no distinct crown and a greyer overall appearance. The tail is short with a broad shallowly notched tip and is often held raised up. This dove; also found in Florida, the Caribbean, southern California, Mexico and Central America south to northern Brazil, breeds in Bermuda and is fairly common. It builds a loose stick nest in a tree and lays two white eggs. The Common Ground Dove feeds principally on seeds but does include insects in the diet.

Similar Animals:

There is only one other dove in Bermuda, the Mourning Dove. The Mourning Dove can be distinguished from the Common Ground Dove by its much larger size and its longer and pointed tail.

Conservation Importance:

The Common Ground Dove is one of Bermuda’s resident breeding birds. It is a protected species but is not increasing in numbers. It needs protection of its habitat to remain reasonably common. Birds are of great interest to visiting naturalists from all over the world.

 

Photograph and text by Martin L. H. Thomas