The Grey-fronted Dove Leptotila rufaxilla is a large New World tropical dove. It is a resident breeder in eastern South America from Colombia south to northeast Argentina and Uruguay. The form L. r. hellmayrii breeds in Trinidad, although it has also been recorded on neighbouring areas of Venezuela.
The Grey-fronted Dove inhabits humid forest. It builds a large stick nest in a bush or on a stump and lays two white eggs.
The Grey-fronted Dove is very similar to the closely related White-tipped Dove, Leptotila verreauxi, which prefers more open, drier, woodland. It is 28cm long and weigh 155g.
Adult birds have a blue-grey crown and forehead and a grey neck showing purple iridescence. They have a whitish throat and the eye-ring is red. The upperparts and wings are grey-brown, and the underparts are whitish shading to pink on the belly. The tail is broadly tipped with white. The bill is black and the legs red. L. r. hellmayrii has a paler forehead and darker, more rufous, breast.
The best distinctions from White-tipped Dove are the bluish forehead and crown, and the red eyering.
The Grey-fronted 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 food of this species is mainly seeds obtained by foraging on the ground, but it will also take insects. The call is a deep hollow ooo-wooooo-ou.
Last updated: 05-25-2005 17:25:00