Columbina passerina


The Common Ground-Dove is barely larger than a sparrow and is North America's smallest dove. It is a fast flyer with rapid, short, wing beats; similar to that of a quail. When it walks, it bobs its head like a pigeon. The Common Ground-Dove forages on the ground for seeds, small berries, and occasionally insects. Although this bird may be found in small groups, it's more typically found in pairs.


General: 6.5 inches in length.

Adult Male: Pinkish-buff head, neck and breast. Scaly head and breast. Pinkish belly. Bluish-gray hindneck and nape. Orangish bill with black tip. Gray-brown back and upperwings. Black spots on wing coverts. Rufous underwings. Black-tipped rufous primaries on upperwings. Short, black-tipped tail with white corners. Reddish legs and feet.

Adult Female: Similar to adult male, except has pale gray head, neck, nape, and breast. Gray unscaled belly.

Juvenile: Similar to adult female.


Semi-open areas, such as brushy wooldland edges, fields, gardens and farmlands.


2 white eggs. The eggs have a 12-14 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in 11 days. The nest is a shallow platform of sticks and grass. It is typically built in a low shrub, cactus, palm, or occasionally on the ground. Parents feed the nestlings regurgitated food, called "pigeon milk".

Observed Locations:

  • Bird and Butterfly Garden, Tijuana River Valley

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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.