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Discover the Hidden World of the Blue-Eyed Ground Dove: From Feeding Habits to Beautiful Plumage

The Blue-eyed Ground Dove, also known as the Columbina cyanopis, is a small bird species found in Central and South America. This beautiful dove is known for its striking features, including its distinctive blue eyes and intricate feather patterns.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the identification, plumages and molts of this fascinating bird species. Identification:

The Blue-eyed Ground Dove is a small bird, approximately 16-18 cm in length.

It has an intricate feather pattern on its body, which is brownish-grey in color. Its most striking feature, as the name implies, is its bright blue eyes, which are surrounded by a fleshy ring.

The bill and feet of the bird are pinkish-grey in color.

Field Identification:

The Blue-eyed Ground Dove can be found in different parts of Central and South America, including Mexico, Costa Rica, and Brazil.

When in the field, the best way to identify the bird is by its size and distinctive blue-eyed appearance. It can often be seen walking or running on the ground in search of seeds and insects.

Similar Species:

There are other ground doves that share similar characteristics with the Blue-eyed Ground Dove, which can make identification challenging. These include Common Ground Doves and Ruddy Ground Doves.

However, the Common Ground Dove has a reddish-brown eye and lacks the blue fleshy ring around its eye, while the Ruddy Ground Dove has a reddish-brown eye, a more reddish color overall, and lacking any blue hue.


The plumage of this dove is stunning and can change during different stages of its life.

Juvenile birds have a duller plumage than adults, as they lack the intricate feather patterns and blue eyes. Once it matures, the blue-eyed ground dove’s body plumage becomes more complex and defined, with feathers of black, rust, and cream.


The Blue-eyed Ground Dove undergoes two molts each year. During the fall molt, the bird will replace its feathers, producing a new blue eye-ring.

It is common for birds of this species to appear duller during this time. In the spring molt, the bird’s feathers become brighter and more intricate as they prepare for the breeding season.


The Blue-eyed Ground Dove is a stunning bird species that has captured the attention of bird lovers worldwide. Its distinctive blue eyes and intricate feather patterns make it easy to identify in the field.

Understanding the different plumages and molts of this bird species can enhance our appreciation of its beauty and the complexity of avian life. So, get your binoculars ready and explore the world of the Blue-eyed Ground Dove!

, as the article will be self-contained and offer a complete overview of the Systematics History of Blue-eyed Ground Dove.

Systematics History:

The Blue-eyed Ground Dove, scientifically known as Columbina cyanopis, belongs to the family Columbidae. The family Columbidae includes over 300 species of birds, including doves and pigeons.

The Blue-eyed Ground Dove is a small ground dove that can be found in Central and South America.

Geographic Variation:

The Blue-eyed Ground Dove is known to have geographic variation, as different populations have developed variations in their appearance.

In particular, the populations that are found more to the south are known to have a darker plumage and less blue around the eye. Populations in northern areas show the opposite patterns.

These variations in appearance suggest that there are different populations of the bird species if not different subspecies. Subspecies:

Currently, there are three recognized subspecies of the Blue-eyed Ground Dove:


Columbina cyanopis cyanopis: The nominate subspecies, found from southeastern Mexico to southwestern Nicaragua. 2.

Columbina cyanopis nivevincta: Found from western Panama to northwestern Ecuador. This subspecies is distinguished from the other two by a white band around its nape.

3. Columbina cyanopis obscura: Found from central Brazil to northeastern Argentina.

This subspecies is distinguished from the nominate subspecies by having less blue around their eyes, and their overall plumage is darker.

Related Species:

The Blue-eyed Ground Dove is closely related to other ground doves, including the Ruddy Ground Dove (Columbina talpacoti) and the Plain-breasted Ground Dove (Columbina minuta).

These two bird species are similar in appearance and behavior to the Blue-eyed Ground Dove. The Ruddy Ground Dove, in particular, has a similar blue eye-ring but generally lacks the prominent blue hue that is a defining feature of the Blue-eyed Ground Dove

Historical Changes to Distribution:

In the past century, the geographical range of the Blue-eyed Ground Dove has gone through changes.

Historically, this bird species could be found in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. However, recent surveys have indicated that its distribution has become patchier.

In Mexico, the species was once common but is now limited to certain areas where suitable habitat exists. Deforestation, urbanization, and agriculture, have led to significant losses of habitat throughout much of its range, and this has contributed to declines of the species.

Furthermore, it is not clear whether these changes in the distribution of this bird are permanent or whether they reflect fluctuating habitat conditions. Conclusion:

The Blue-eyed Ground Dove has a long history of evolution and geographic variation, with three known subspecies in its range.

Changes in distribution have been observed, with the bird’s range becoming patchier due to changes in habitat. Nonetheless, this bird species remains one of the most fascinating examples of avian diversity and adaptation.

A better understanding of its taxonomy, systematics, and historical distribution will help us to conserve this beautiful bird species for generations to come. , as the article will be self-contained and offer a complete overview of the Habitat, Movements, and Migration of Blue-eyed Ground Dove.


The Blue-eyed Ground Dove is a bird species that prefers the dry and open habitats. It is often found in areas with grasslands, savannas, and scrub forests.

They are also seen in areas with croplands, pastures, and other types of landscapes altered by human activities. The altitude where the bird is found varies depending on the region.

For example, in Mexico, it can be found in elevations ranging from sea level up to 1,500 meters. In Brazil or Colombia, the bird may inhabit areas up to 3,000 meters above sea level.

The presence of relatively open areas within its preferred habitat may be key to supporting Blue-eyed Ground Dove populations. Birds use these areas to forage, find shelter, and nest.

The availability of food sources, nesting sites, and cover are essential for the survival of this species. Movements and Migration:

The Blue-eyed Ground Dove is considered to be a non-migratory bird species, meaning that they do not follow seasonal movements like more migratory species.

They are known to move to different areas within their range depending on weather patterns, food availability, and other environmental factors.

Blue-eyed Ground Doves are highly adaptable to their environment and can move to locations where resources are more abundant.

They are highly territorial and will defend their feeding and nesting areas against other individuals. As a result, they tend to remain in similar areas throughout their lifetime.

Although they generally do not migrate, some individuals may move or disperse to new areas. For instance, juvenile birds may disperse from their breeding location to new areas, perhaps in search of food resources and better breeding habitats.

It is also known that there are certain populations of the Blue-eyed Ground Dove that are found at both the northernmost and southernmost parts of the species range, suggesting historical and ongoing movement and redistribution in response to ecological changes. Conservation:

The Blue-eyed Ground Dove is considered to be a species of least concern, according to the IUCN Red List.

However, human activities such as deforestation, agricultural land conversion, and infrastructure development pose a threat to its habitat. The loss of habitat, combined with other factors like climate change and disease, may also lead to declines in population numbers.

Efforts to conserve this bird species include protecting and restoring their habitat, as well as raising awareness amongst local communities and policymakers about the importance of safeguarding avian diversity. The use of sustainable agricultural practices and land use planning can also help to conserve this species and its habitat.


The Blue-eyed Ground Dove is a non-migratory bird species that prefers open and dry habitats for foraging, nesting, and shelter. Its adaptable behavior helps them to survive in different environments, and its territorial behavior limits movement within certain areas.

However, threats such as habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and other anthropogenic activities can cause a decline in the population of this species. It is our responsibility to work towards conserving the Blue-eyed Ground Dove and its habitat, preserving avian diversity and maintaining ecological sustainability for the future.

, as the article will be self-contained and offer a complete overview of the Diet and Foraging, and Sounds and Vocal Behavior of Blue-eyed Ground Dove. Diet and Foraging:


As a member of the Columbidae family, Blue-eyed Ground Doves are granivorous, meaning that they feed mainly on seeds.

They are also known to feed on small insects, snails, and other invertebrates, as they are generally ground-dwelling birds. Blue-eyed Ground Doves have a gizzard, an organ that grinds up the food they ingest.

The gizzard’s adaptation allows the birds to digest the tough seed shells effectively. Diet:

The Blue-eyed Ground Dove’s diet depends on the availability of seeds and insects.

They feed on the seeds of grasses and shrubs, as well as those of cultivated crops. Some studies suggest that this species shows preference for Acacia seeds, but this assertion is as yet only partly supported; thus, additional studies will be necessary to clarify potential foraging preferences.

Furthermore, while some bird species have been observed to be selective about the size of seeds they forage, Blue-eyed Ground Doves appear not to have any clear preference for seed size according to available information. Metabolism and Temperature Regulation:

Birds are endothermic and have unique metabolic adaptations that allow them to maintain a fairly constant body temperature despite changes in the environmental temperature.

The Blue-eyed Ground Dove’s metabolic rate is lower than mammals of a similar size, resulting in a lower energy requirement, which is an important adaptation for living in environments with limited food resources. The Blue-eyed Ground Dove also exhibits thermoregulatory behavior to maintain a constant body temperature.

In the winter months, when temperatures drop, they will often fluff out their feathers to create an insulating layer of air this keeps the air closer to their body warm, and reduces the loss of body heat. During the summer months, they exhibit panting behavior to help dissipate heat, and will retreat to shaded areas to avoid overheating.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior:


Blue-eyed Ground Doves utilize a variety of vocalizations in their communication with conspecifics. They have a soft, monotonous coo that is similar to that of other dove species.

The male bird generally produces deeper, more resonant, and repetitive coos to attract females for courtship while perched. Furthermore, both sexes utilize various calls such as chirps and trills during their interactions with conspecifics or when alarmed.

The male will also attract a female by puffing up his throat feathers to make a booming sound, much like a drum roll. This is known as the advertising call.

During the mating period, some courting activities also involve clapping wings together while they are facing each other, as well as bowing to each other. Conclusion:

The Blue-eyed Ground Dove is a granivorous bird species that feeds mainly on seeds, with occasional forays into feeding on small invertebrates.

These birds have unique adaptations in their metabolic rates and thermoregulatory behavior that allow them to maintain a constant body temperature. Vocalizations play an important role in communication amongst conspecifics, with males often utilizing distinct calls to attract a female’s attention.

Overall, understanding the feeding and vocalization behavior of the Blue-eyed Ground Dove can help us gain a better appreciation for this fascinating and unique bird species. , as the article will be self-contained and offer a complete overview of the Behavior, Breeding, and Demography and Populations of Blue-eyed Ground Dove.



The Blue-eyed Ground Dove is primarily a terrestrial bird, walking or running across the ground. They have shorter wings than other dove and pigeon species, which do not enable them to fly over wide distances or at high altitudes.

However, they can fly short distances when startled or threatened by predators, such as birds of prey and cats. Self-Maintenance:

As with most birds, grooming is an essential aspect of the Blue-eyed Ground Dove’s self-maintenance behavior.

They will use their bills and feet to preen their feathers, remove parasites, and maintain temperature regulation. This behavior is essential for the bird’s insulation, waterproofing, and flight capabilities.

Agonistic Behavior:

Blue-eyed Ground Doves can be territorial and aggressive towards other members of their species, especially during the breeding season. Males will defend their territories, often engaging in fights with other males to protect their mate and resources.

Sexual Behavior:

During the breeding season, males will try to attract a female through vocalizations, displays, and courtship behaviors. Once a pair has bonded, they will engage in mutual preening and other display behaviors.

Copulation occurs on the ground, with the male mounting the female from behind. Breeding:


Blue-eyed Ground Doves usually lay two eggs per clutch, with a clutch being defined as a set of eggs laid in a single breeding season.

Eggs are generally laid in a simple scrape on the ground, usually in an area with dense ground cover to provide protection. The female alone incubates the eggs, with the male providing food to the female while perched nearby.

Fledging and Juveniles:

The eggs of the Blue-eyed Ground Dove hatch after approximately 14 days of incubation. The chicks are altricial meaning they are naked, blind, and helpless and will follow the parents shortly after emerging from the egg.

Both parents will provide food to the chicks until they are old enough to fend for themselves. Demography and Populations:

Population Size and Trends:

The population size of the Blue-eyed Ground Dove is currently unknown; however, it is considered to be stable across much of its range.

However, habitat loss and human activities continue to pose a significant threat to the survival of the species. The Blue-eyed Ground Dove is listed as a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.


To facilitate the conservation of the Blue-eyed Ground Dove, several measures can be taken. These include habitat protection, restoration, and sustainable land use practices.

Protected areas, corridors, and law enforcement can also play a significant role in preserving this species and their habitat. Furthermore, knowledge of this species’ demography, population trends, and ecology can be crucial to good conservation initiatives.

Population numbers and genetic diversity, among other factors, are essential to consider while drawing up conservation plans for the Blue-eyed Ground Dove. Conclusion:

The Blue-eyed Ground Dove exhibits several interesting behaviors, including vocalization, self-maintenance, sexual behavior, and breeding.

Breeding mostly takes place on the ground, with a simple scrape providing the nest for the eggs. The population of the species is considered stable at present, although habitat loss and human activities are a significant threat to their survival.

Understanding the demography and populations of species can play a vital role in conservation efforts. Protecting and conserving the Blue-eyed Ground Dove ensures that we preserve the biodiversity of our planet.

The Blue-eyed Ground Dove is a fascinating bird species that has captured the attention of bird enthusiasts around the world. This article has explored several aspects of the species, including their Classification and Systematics, Habitat, Feeding, Movements, Behavioral, Breeding, and Demography and Population.

From their unique vocalizations and intricate plumage to their non-migratory habits and territorial behavior, the Blue-eyed Ground Dove is a one-of-a-kind bird species that highlights the beauty, complexity, and diversity of avian life. Understanding and appreciating these aspects of the Blue-eyed Ground Dove not only brings us closer to nature but also helps us protect these fascinating birds from threats like habitat loss, climate change, and other human activities.

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