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Version 1.0

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Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti

Julie A. Hart
Version: 1.0 — Published May 20, 2011




Walk on the ground and along branches. Flight pattern is not described. Hopping also is not recorded.


Doves capture food by pecking seeds off the ground in open areas. Individuals of this species often form foraging flocks and feed side-by-side.


Birds sleep with their head pointing forward and bill tipped slightly downward (Skutch 1956). Mutual preening is mentioned in relation to pair-bond maintenance, but is not described in the context of self-maintenance (Skutch 1956).

Agonistic behavior

Distraction displays have been observed at nests with the bird feigning wing injury (Haverschmidt 1953, Skutch 1956).


Nest sites are defended from other Ruddy Ground-Doves. Doves attack intruders near the nest by beating the intruder with their wings, pecking, and chasing (Skutch 1956).

Sexual Behavior

Mating system and sex ratios

Ruddy Ground-Doves are monogamous (Haverschmidt 1953, Skutch 1956). Sex ratio has not been reported.

Pair bond

Ruddy Ground-Doves have a strong pair bond. They rest next to each other on branches and share in mutual preening behavior (Skutch 1956). When the pair meets near the nest, they begin a recognition display consisting of bobbing their heads up and down and twitching their wings.

Courtship display

Havershmidt (1953) described what he thought was a courtship display but with no apparent female present. The male cooed, with tail pumping up and down with the sound, and then took off from the perch in flight when finished. The male flew upward, clapped its wings a few times making an audible sound, and then soared downwards before resuming a normal flight pattern. Copulation is preceded by vigorous wing flapping, billing, and wing preening (Haverschmidt 1953).

Extra-pair copulations

Not reported.

Social and interspecific behavior

Non-breeding individuals roost in social groups (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Ruddy Ground-Doves have been observed in mixed flocks with Inca Dove (C. inca), Common Ground-Dove (C. passerina), and Plain-breasted Ground-Dove (C. minuta) (Slud 1964, Baptista et al. 1997). They also occur in single-species flocks that may include 200 or more individuals (Howell and Webb 1995).


Kinds of predation

Nest predation has been observed by Fiery-billed Aracari (Pteroglossus frantzii), Curl-crested Jays (Cyanocorax cristatellus), American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), Aplomado Falcon (F. femoralis), and snakes (Skutch 1956, Cintra 1988). Fledglings are predated by Roadside Hawk (Rupornis magnirostris) as well as American Kestrel and Aplomado Falcon (Cintra 1988).

Response to predation

While nests may be reused for consecutive nest attempts, a predated nest will not be reused (Cintra 1988).

Recommended Citation

Hart, J. A. (2011). Ruddy Ground-Dove (Columbina talpacoti), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.rugdov.01