• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer

Common Ground-Dove

Columbina passerina ORDER: COLUMBIFORMES FAMILY: COLUMBIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A dove the size of a sparrow, the Common Ground-Dove forages in dusty open areas, sometimes overshadowed by the grass clumps it is feeding beneath. Its dusty plumage is easy to overlook until the bird springs into flight with a soft rattling of feathers and a flash of reddish-brown in the wings. These small, attractive doves are common across the southernmost parts of the U.S. from California to Florida.

Calls

Both males and females make a repeated, high-pitched coo, heard year-round at all hours of the day. Each sequence of coos contains 1–13 rising notes, and a sequence may be repeated 4–5 times per minute for many minutes on end. Ground-doves use variations of this call while courting, while waiting for a mate to return, and when flushing from a nest. Males give a short guttural squawk during the courtship display. Males and females may squawk when jockeying for position at food or water sources.

Other Sounds

The ground-dove’s wings make whirring or whistling sounds, probably produced by a notched seventh primary feather, during takeoff and short flights.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Backyard Tips

Common Ground-Doves come to ground feeders with commercial birdseed, rapeseed, millet, canary seed, buckwheat, sorghum, and other seeds. They need nearby shrub cover to stay hidden from predators. They regularly visit water holes to drink, but make sure there is some open space around the water source so predators can’t sneak up on them too easily. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

Find This Bird

Common Ground-Doves are often found in pairs or small flocks, but can be hard to see as their grayish-brown plumage blends in with the ground. People may not notice Common Ground-Doves until the birds flush into nearby brush, displaying rich chestnut wing patches as they fly. When people do spot these tiny, short-tailed doves, they sometimes mistake them for sparrows. You might hear a repetitive moaning call even if the bird is well concealed in the bushes.

×

Search

Or Browse Bird Guide by Family, Name or Shape
×
bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. You can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell or give your email address to others.