Columba flavirostris Wagler, 1831
The Red-billed Pigeon, Patagioenas flavirostris (see Johnson et al. 2001), is a relatively large pigeon which breeds from southern Texas, United States, and northwestern Mexico south to Costa Rica. It belongs to a clade of Patagioenas which generally lack iridescent display plumage, except some vestiges in the Pale-vented Pigeon.
It is found in open country with some trees, large clearings and cultivation in lowlands and middle altitudes to 2100 meters. It builds a rudimentary platform nest out of twigs in a tree about 4–25 metres (13–82 ft) above the ground, usually on a horizontal branch or on a palm crown, and lays one white egg.
The Red-billed Pigeon is mid or large-sized pigeon, at 30–37 cm (12–15 in) in length and a weight of 230–425 g (8.1–15.0 oz). It is mainly wine-purple, becoming browner on the back, and with a grey tail, lower belly and flight feathers. The bill is white with a red base, and the legs and eyes are red. Juvenile birds are duller than adults and the plumage is brown-tinged.
It is normally seen alone or in pairs and rarely forms flocks. It feeds on the ground, seeking acorns, berries and buds.
The Red-billed Pigeon has a loud kuk c'c'coooo call that is given in rows; the initial short kuk is characteristic for this group of Patagioenas (Mahler & Tubaro 2001).
- Johnson, Kevin P.; de Kort, Selvino; Dinwoodey, Karen, Mateman, A. C.; ten Cate, Carel; Lessells, C. M. & Clayton, Dale H. (2001): A molecular phylogeny of the dove genera Streptopelia and Columba. Auk 118(4): 874-887. PDF fulltext
- Mahler, Bettina & Tubaro, Pablo L. (2001): Relationship between song characters and morphology in New World pigeons. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 74(4): 533–539. doi:10.1006/bijl.2001.0596 (HTML abstract)
- Stiles, F. Gary & Skutch, Alexander Frank (1989): A guide to the birds of Costa Rica. Comistock, Ithaca. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4