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A photo of a Blue Ground Dove (Claravis pretiosa), male
Blue Ground Dove, Male

Blue Ground Dove

Claravis pretiosa

The blue ground dove, Claravis pretiosa, is a diminutive New World tropical dove, exhibiting a charming dichotomy in plumage between the sexes. The males are adorned with blue-grey upperparts and a paler grey below, with a striking grey-white face. Their wings are punctuated with conspicuous black spots, and their flight feathers and outer tail feathers are tinged with blackish hues. The females, on the other hand, display a grey-brown head, neck, and breast, with the underwings and belly a soft blue-grey. Their back is a warm ruddy brown, which contrasts beautifully with the chestnut rump and tail. Both sexes share the characteristic red or yellow iris, a green bare eyering, and flesh-pink legs.

Identification Tips

Adult males are distinguished by their blue-grey plumage and black-spotted wings, while females are recognized by their grey-brown and ruddy brown coloration with chestnut wing spots. The male's red or yellow iris and green eyering are notable features. In regions where they coexist with similar species, the blue ground dove can be identified by its size and specific color patterns.

Habitat

The blue ground dove favors open woodland, forest edges, and clearings, thriving particularly in humid areas. It is typically found from sea level up to an elevation of approximately 1200 meters.

Distribution

This species is a resident breeder with a range extending from southeastern Mexico through to northwestern Peru and northern Argentina, and is also found on the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean.

Behaviour

These doves are often seen alone, in pairs, or in small groups. They are ground feeders, foraging for seeds and small insects, and are known to ingest grit. The male's song is a distinctive loud "boop," usually delivered from the treetops.

Song & Calls

The male blue ground dove is known for its sonorous "boop" call, which resonates from the treetops and serves as a vocal beacon within its habitat.

Breeding

The blue ground dove constructs a rather insubstantial twig nest, typically situated 1 to 11 meters above the ground in a tree. The female lays a clutch of two white eggs.

Similar Species

In its range, the male blue ground dove may be confused with species of the genus Paraclaravis. Females may resemble those of Paraclaravis but are more commonly mistaken for the smaller female ruddy ground dove, which has blackish wing markings instead of chestnut-brown.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the blue ground dove consists mainly of seeds and small insects. They exhibit a preference for feeding on the ground and are known to consume grit to aid in digestion.

Conservation status

The blue ground dove is currently classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that it is not at immediate risk of widespread decline.

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