Grey-headed dove

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Grey-headed dove
Leptotila plumbeiceps 1902.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Columbiformes
Family: Columbidae
Genus: Leptotila
Species: L. plumbeiceps
Binomial name
Leptotila plumbeiceps
(Sclater & Salvin, 1868)

The grey-headed dove (Leptotila plumbeiceps) is a large New World tropical dove. It is a resident breeder from eastern Mexico to western Panama. It was formerly considered conspecific with the grey-fronted dove, L. rufaxilla, of South America and the Grenada dove, L. wellsi, of Grenada.

The grey-headed dove inhabits the understory of forests, old second growth, scrubby woodland and cacao plantations. It builds a stick nest in a tree and lays two white eggs. Incubation is about 14 days, and fledging another 15.

The grey-headed dove is 25 cm (9.8 in) long and weighs 155 g (5.5 oz). The adult has a grey crown and neck, the latter showing purple iridescence. It has a whitish forehead and throat. The upperparts and wings are olive-brown, and the underparts are pinkish shading to white on the belly. The tail is broadly tipped with white. The bill is black and the legs red. Young birds lack the grey on the head and have buff edges to the feathers of the back.

The grey-headed dove is usually seen singly or in pairs. It forages on the ground for fruit, seeds and grit. Its flight is fast and direct, with the regular beats and clattering of the wings which are characteristic of pigeons in general.