Ruddy pigeon

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Ruddy pigeon
Patagioenas subvinacea -NW Ecuador-8.jpg
At Milpe Bird Sanctuary (NW Ecuador)
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Columbiformes
Family: Columbidae
Genus: Patagioenas
P. subvinacea
Binomial name
Patagioenas subvinacea
(Lawrence, 1868)

Chloroenas subvinacea Lawrence, 1868
Columba subvinacea (Lawrence, 1868)

The ruddy pigeon (Patagioenas subvinacea) is a largish pigeon which breeds from Costa Rica south to western Ecuador, Bolivia, and central Brazil. It belongs to a clade of small and rather plain species of Patagioenas with characteristic calls[2] that constitute the subgenus Oenoenas.[3] Like the other New World pigeons, it was formerly united with their Old World relatives in Columba, but today the New World genus Patagioenas is recognized as distinct again.[2]

The ruddy pigeon is 28 cm (11 in) long and weighs 170 g. It is unpatterned and mainly wine-purple in colour, becoming more rufous on the back. The tail and primary flight feathers are dark brown, the bill is black, and the legs are purple-red. The iris is typically red, but can, at least in the Amazon basin, sometimes be dull yellow (however, due to the red eye-ring, the iris never appears as conspicuously white as in adults of the sympatric subspecies of the plumbeous pigeon, P. plumbea). The female is slightly duller and browner than the male, and the juvenile bird has a greyish brown head, neck and breast, with cinnamon or rufous scaling on the head and upperparts.

It has a loud and fairly high-pitched coo, ko'COO coo call, with considerable pauses between calls just as in its relatives.[3] There are some geographical variations in its voice, with some populations singing four-noted songs, while others sing three-noted songs.

In Central America, the ruddy pigeon is replaced at lower altitudes by its close relative, the very similar short-billed pigeon (P. nigrirostris). The two species are best separated by call, which is faster and less complex in P. subvinacea.[3]


In Central America it is found in highland forest canopy and semi-open woodland from 1500 m (5000 ft) ASL to the timberline. In South America it occurs in the canopy of humid forest from near sea-level to 1500 m (5000 ft) ASL, occasionally higher; exceptionally, they may range up to 3000 m ASL or more.[4] It is not uncommon across its wide range but due to projected deforestation is thus classified as a Vulnerable species by the IUCN.[1] It is normally seen in pairs as it forages in the tree tops for fruits and berries—being particularly fond of mistletoe fruit – but may occasionally be seen on tracks and roadside seeking grit. It builds a rudimentary platform nest out of twigs 5 m high in a small tree, and lays one white egg.


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Patagioenas subvinacea". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b 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. The Auk 118(4): 874–887. doi:10.1642/0004-8038(2001)118[0874:AMPOTD]2.0.CO;2 PDF fulltext
  3. ^ a b c Mahler, Bettina & Tubaro, Pablo L. (2001): Relationship between song characters and morphology in New World pigeons. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 74(4): 533–539. doi:10.1006/bijl.2001.0596
  4. ^ Krabbe, Niels; Flórez, Pablo; Suárez, Gustavo; Castaño, José; Arango, Juan David & Duque, Arley (2006) The birds of Páramo de Frontino, western Andes of Colombia. Ornitologıá Colombiana 4: 39–50 [English with Spanish abstract]. PDF fulltext Archived 2008-08-20 at the Wayback Machine
  • Stiles, F. Gary & Skutch, Alexander Frank (1989): A guide to the birds of Costa Rica. Comistock, Ithaca. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4

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