The Common Ground Dove (Columbina passerina) is a small bird that inhabits the southern United States, parts of Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America. The Common Ground Dove is considered to be the smallest dove that inhabits the United States. As its name suggests, the bird spends the majority of its time on the ground walking but still has the ability to fly.
The Common Ground Dove is North America’s smallest dove and is one of the world’s smallest by mass. This species ranges from 15–18 cm (5.9–7.1 inches) in length, spans 27 cm (11 inches) across the wings and weighs 26–40 g (0.92–1.41 oz). The feathers on the head and the upper breast have a scale like appearance. The tail feathers are very short and similar color to the back. The plumage on the back of the bird is brown. The coverts and wing feathers are also brown but have black spotting on them. [Wikipedia]
Common Ground Dove Facts [All About Birds]
- It’s estimated that a Common Ground Dove has to eat more than 2,500 seeds every day to meet its energetic demands. It can store hundreds of seeds in its two-lobed crop, an enlarged pocket of the esophagus.
- Because it nests and feeds on the ground, the Common Ground Dove lives in constant danger of predation from terrestrial animals like bobcats, opossums, raccoons, skunks, foxes, dogs, cats, and snakes. Birds hunt it too, including crows, jays, blackbirds, owls, hawks, falcons, and shrikes. The ground dove’s main weapon against predators is concealment: hiding in vegetation or simply blending into the dusty ground.
- Ground doves may breed opportunistically after rainfall or fire to take advantage of the extra abundance of seeds. Both parents use a secretion from the esophagus, known as crop milk, to feed nestlings. Since they do not have to rely on specific food items for their chicks, ground doves can have a long breeding season with multiple broods.
- The oldest Common Ground Dove on record was a female, and at least 7 years, 2 months old. She was banded in Texas and found in Mexico.