The Common Ground Dove (Columbina passerina) is a small bird species that belongs to the family Columbidae. These doves are found throughout the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America. They are about 6-7 inches (15-18 cm) long and weigh around 1-1.5 ounces (28-42 grams).
The Common Ground Dove has a distinctive appearance that sets it apart from other dove species. It has a brownish-gray body with a scaled pattern on the neck and breast, and reddish-brown wing coverts. The wings are short and pointed, and the tail is squared off at the tip. They also have a distinctive call, which sounds like “coo-coo-coo.”
These doves are non-migratory in their southernmost range, but populations further north do migrate. They are generally found in open habitats such as fields, scrublands, and desert edges. They prefer areas with low vegetation, where they can forage for seeds and insects on the ground. They are often seen in pairs or small groups and are known to be quite skittish, flushing quickly when disturbed.
During the breeding season, Common Ground Doves build a small nest out of twigs and grasses in a low shrub or on the ground. The female typically lays two white eggs, which both parents incubate for about two weeks. The chicks are fed crop milk, a secretion produced by the parents’ crop, for the first few days of their life before transitioning to a diet of seeds and insects.
Overall, the Common Ground Dove is a small but distinctive bird that can be found in a variety of habitats throughout the Americas. Its unique appearance and call make it a favorite among birdwatchers, and its skittish behavior can provide a fun challenge for those trying to observe it in the wild.