Animals / Birds

Blue-headed quail-dove


Синеголовый земляной голубь (ру.)

Kubataube, Kuba-Erdtaube, Blaukopfwachteltaube, Kuba-Blaukopftaube Rebhuhntaube (de.)

Paloma-perdiz cubana, paloma perdiz (es.)


Order — Columbiformes.

Family — Columbidae.

Subfamily — Starnoenadinae.

Genus — Starnoenas.

Species — Starnoenas cyanocephala.


The Blue-headed Quail-Dove is endemic to Cuba where it is resident. It has never established in Jamaica, in spite of repeated introductions. It was also recorded in S Florida in past.

The Blue-headed Quail-Dove frequents deciduous forest with dense canopy where it can be seen walking in the undergrowth, often close to swampy areas. However, it requires open understory and stony forest floor with thick leaf litter. It can be seen occasionally in highlands, up to 500 metres of elevation or more.

Внешний вид

Length: 29-34 cm.

Weight: 213-290 g.

Body plumage is brownish-cinnamon, varying from buffy-brown to dark brown.

The primaries are darker on the upperwing.

The tail is brown with slate-grey outer rectrices.

Hindneck and mantle are tinged purple.

On the underparts, the breast is pinkish-purple, but mostly olive-brown with purple wash on breast sides.

The belly is buffy-brown to dark brown.

The head, forehead and crown are bright cobalt blue, bordered by black eye line extending behind the eye and joining on the nape.

There is a conspicuous white stripe below the black eye line.

Chin and throat are velvet black, forming a black bib bordered with white.

The black malar area and the lower cheek are streaked bright blue. 

The bill has red base and pale blue tip. The eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are reddish, with hexagonal scales on the front. 

Male and female are similar, but she has reduced gloss in hindneck and breast.

The juvenile is duller, with feathers edged buff-brown on back, scapulars and wings. The breast feathers show some buff fringes too. The head is dull blue. Legs and feet are dull red.


It feeds mostly on seeds, berries, snails and other small arthropods, and has also been known to take peas and other crop seeds from plantations


Doves are generally seldom sick. The Salmonella genus has thousands of different species of bacteria that can affect doves. Trichomiasis is a protozoan infection that causes cheese-like growth in the mouth (canker). Coccidiosis is an intestinal disease. “Going light” is not a disease but a symptom of many diseases and treatments.


The breeding season takes place from April to July. The nest of the Blue-headed Quail-Dove is a platform made with twigs, sometimes with a lining of rootlets and always with fresh leaves. It is placed in dense low shrub or among tree roots, or atop tree stump, and sometimes in Tillandsia epiphytes. It is usually built less than 1,75 metres from the ground.

The female lays 1-2 white eggs. The incubation lasts about 17 days. The chicks have long, buffy-white down. The fledging period is currently unknown.

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