Purple Winged Ground Dove

Description and biology

The purple–winged ground–dove derives its common name from the three wide purple bars on its wings. The male has dark bluish–gray plumage (covering of feathers) with lighter underparts.

Its tail is gray in the center and has white edges. The female is reddish–brown in color with lighter underparts. It has a brown tail with black and pale yellow edges.

An average purple–winged ground–dove measures 9 inches (23 centimeters) in length. Bamboo seeds make up the bulk of the bird’s diet. It also feeds on fruit, grass seeds, and sedges (grassy plants growing in wet areas).

The purple–winged ground–dove is quite rare. When seen, it is usually in a small flock. Not much is known about the bird’s breeding habits other than the fact that its breeding season begins in November or December when bamboo plants begin to flower.

Habitat and current distribution

This species is found only in the Atlantic forest region of southeastern South America. Biologists (people who study living organisms) do not know how many purple–winged ground–doves currently exist. Although there are occasional sightings at various locations throughout its range, the bird is considered very rare or possibly extinct.

Purple–winged ground–doves prefer to inhabit dense forests and forest borders with nearby bamboo plants. They tend to build their nests in thick, bushy trees.

History and conservation measures

Because the purple–winged ground–dove is such a specialized eater (mainly bamboo seeds), it requires a large range in which to find the proper amount of food. Even moderate deforestation greatly reduces the bird’s habitat and its food source.

The purple–winged ground–dove is legally protected throughout its range. A complete ban on its capture in the wild has been recommended. It is thought to exist in small numbers in some parks and reserves along the Serra do Mar mountain range in southern Brazil and at the Iguazú National Park in Argentina.

Unfortunately, since little is known about the purple–winged ground–dove’s particular needs, no special measures have been taken on its behalf in those parks.