Ruddy Ground Dove
The ruddy ground dove (Columbina talpacoti) is a small New World tropical dove. It is a resident breeder from Mexico south to Brazil, Peru and Paraguay, and northern Argentina, and on Trinidad and Tobago. Individual birds can sometimes be seen in the southwestern USA, from southern Texas to southernmost California, primarily during winter.
Ruddy ground doves are small short-tailed pigeons, 17 cm (6.7 in) long. Adult males have a pale grey head and neck, and rich rufous upperparts, black-spotted on the wing coverts. The underparts are paler brown, the tail is edged black, and the underwings are cinnamon and black. The female is grey-brown rather than rufous, and has less contrast between head and body than the male.
The ruddy ground dove is very common in scrub and other open country, including cultivated land and urban centres, where it can be seen feeding on grain alongside feral pigeons. It builds a solid but sparsely lined cup-shaped stick nest in a tree and lays two white eggs. Incubation is 12–13 days with another 12–14 days to fledging. There may be a second or third brood. Chick mortality through predation and falls from the nest is high. Its flight is fast and direct, with the regular beats and occasional sharp flick of the wings which are characteristic of pigeons in general.
Ruddy ground doves feed mainly on seeds, but also sometimes on snails and small insects. Their call is a soft cooing cur-WOO. This species can be quite approachable. Males frequently threaten each other by jumping and raising a wing, and brief confrontations may ensue.