occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: RESIDENT: northern Mexico and southern Texas (lower Rio Grande Valley; common in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy counties) south to southern Brazil, Uruguay, and eastern Argentina.
Length: 29 cm
Weight: 153 grams
Comments: ALL SEASONS: Open woodland, forest edge, second growth, dense moist woodlands and thickets, citrus groves, clearings, and less often, cultivated areas around human habitation, primarily in arid and semiarid regions. See Boydstun and DeYoung (1985) for Texas habitats. BREEDING: Nests in tree, shrub, or vine tangle, up to about 3-4 m above ground; often low, sometimes on ground.
Habitat and Ecology
Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Comments: Eats mainly seeds, also small fruits and some insects; forages on ground or low branches under or near shrubby cover (Terres 1980).
Relatively sedentary in Texas; moves over area of generally less than 10 ha (Boydstun and DeYoung 1988).
Life History and Behavior
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
Lays clutch of 2 eggs, late March-July (mostly May) in north (Texas). Incubation 14 days, by both sexes. Young tended by both parents, leave nest at 15-16 days, begin to feed themselves at about 4 weeks.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Leptotila verreauxi
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Leptotila verreauxi
Public Records: 11
Specimens with Barcodes: 38
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Distribution and habitat
The dove is a resident breeder from southernmost Texas in the USA through Mexico and Central America south to western Peru and central Argentina. It also breeds on the offshore islands of northern South America, including Trinidad and Tobago and the Netherlands Antilles. It inhabits scrub, woodland and forest.
Numerous subspecies exist; some of the more widespread are:
- L. v. verreauxi – Bonaparte, 1855: the nominate taxon, found from Nicaragua to Venezuela
- L. v. angelica – Bangs & Penard, TE, 1922: found from Texas and coastal Mexico
- L. v. decolor – Salvin, 1895: found west of the Andes from Colombia to northern Peru
- L. v. brasiliensis – (Bonaparte, 1856): found in most of the Amazon north of the Amazon River
- L. v. decipiens – (Salvadori, 1871): found in much of central South America
The dove is about 28 cm (11 in) long and weighs 155 g (5.5 oz). Adult birds of most races have a grey tinge from the crown to the nape, a pale grey or whitish forehead and a whitish throat. The eye-ring is typically red in most of its range, but blue in most of the Amazon and northern South America. The upperparts and wings are grey-brown, and the underparts are whitish shading to pinkish, dull grey or buff on the chest. The underwing coverts are rufous. The tail is broadly tipped with white, but this is best visible from below or in flight. The bill is black, the legs are red and the iris is yellow.
The white-tipped dove resembles the closely related grey-fronted dove (Leptotila rufaxilla), which prefers humid forest habitats. The best distinctions are the greyer forehead and crown, which contrast less with the hindcrown than in the grey-fronted dove. In the area of overlap, the white-tipped dove usually has a blue (not red) eye-ring, but this is not reliable in some parts of Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay, where it typically is red in both species.
The white-tipped dove is usually seen singly or in pairs, and is rather wary. Its flight is fast and direct, with the regular beats and clattering of the wings which are characteristic of pigeons in general. The call is a deep hollow ooo-wooooo.
It builds a large stick nest in a tree and lays two white eggs. Incubation is about 14 days, and fledging another 15.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Includes L. BRASILIENSIS (Brazilian Dove), regarded by some as a separate species (AOU 1983). Appears to constitute a superspecies with L. MEGALURA of South America (AOU 1998).