Purple-winged ground-dove -- 紫翅地鸠 (Claravis geoffroyi)

Purple-winged ground-dove among leaf litter
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Purple-winged ground-dove fact file

Purple-winged ground-dove description

GenusClaravis (1)

Once relatively common, the purple-winged ground-dove (Claravis geoffroyi) is an attractive dove species which is now perilously close to extinction (2). The male purple-winged ground-dove has blue-grey upperparts, becoming paler on the neck, head and underparts, and a whitish face. In contrast, the female’s upperparts are a mixture of tan and cinnamon browns, fading to dull white on the belly (3). Both sexes possess two or three broad, purple bands across the wing, a white tail, and a blackish bill (2).

Also known as
purple-barred ground-dove, purple-winged ground dove.
Claravis godefrida.
Length: 19-23 cm (2)

Purple-winged ground-dove biology

The purple-winged ground-dove has a highly specific diet, mainly consisting of bamboo seeds (2) (4). As a result, this species is almost always encountered foraging or breeding in patches of flowering or seeding bamboo, and must undertake seasonal movements to follow bamboo flowering events (2). These events take place simultaneously within local stands of bamboo and persist for a number of years before a mass die-off occurs, after which, another mass flowering may not occur for around 15 to 60 years. Depending on such an unpredictable and ephemeral food supply presents difficulties for this species, especially in terms of meeting the energetic demands of breeding (4). In order to overcome this challenge, when bamboo seed supplies are limited or absent, the purple-winged ground-dove will also take fruit and other varieties of seed (2) (4).

The purple-winged ground-dove appears to breed during the Austral summer, with courtship calls recorded from November to February (2). While little else is known of its reproductive biology, closely related species usually lay a clutch of two eggs, with an incubation period of around 14 days (3)


Purple-winged ground-dove range

At the start of the 20th century, the purple-winged ground-dove is believed to have ranged relatively extensively from the state of Bahia in eastern Brazil, south to northern Argentina and eastern Paraguay. Today, however, this species occurs in very small numbers, at just a few scattered sites within its former range (2).


Purple-winged ground-dove habitat

The purple-winged ground-dove inhabits humid Atlantic Forest from sea-level to elevations of 2,300 metres, generally preferring to occupy the edges of forest patches found on hilly terrain (2)


Purple-winged ground-dove status

The purple-winged ground-dove is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Critically Endangered


Purple-winged ground-dove threats

With a population estimated at just 50 to 249 mature individuals in 2003, the situation for this species is critical (2). The most significant threat to the purple-winged ground-dove is habitat loss (2) (3). Its range falls within the most important agricultural land in Brazil (3), and its habitat has therefore been subject to large-scale clearance for agricultural plantations, leaving the remainder highly fragmented (2). This has led to concern that the increased distances between local bamboo flowering events, and the likelihood of long periods without bamboo seed production anywhere within its range, will rapidly drive the purple-winged ground-dove to extinction (2).


Purple-winged ground-dove conservation

Although the purple-winged ground-dove has been recorded in several protected areas in Brazil, and in Iguazú National Park in Argentina, only small numbers have been observed, and the enforcement of habitat protection in these areas is often inadequate. The current priority for this species is therefore to conduct surveys to locate additional populations and to learn more about its biology so that effective conservation strategies can be employed (2).

With the population so close to extinction, captive breeding may prove vital to preserving the purple-winged ground-dove. Unfortunately, as the small captive population maintained by a few Brazilian aviculturists has apparently died out, this may prove difficult (2).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

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Atlantic Forest
A highly biodiverse region found along the east coast of South America, comprising a mix of vegetation types, including high-altitude grassland, and lowland and montane forest.
Referring to the Southern Hemisphere.
Practitioners of aviculture: the raising, keeping and care of birds in captivity.


  1. IUCN Red List (February, 2009)
  2. BirdLife International (February, 2009)
  3. Marshall Cavendish Corporation. (2001) Endangered Wildlife and Plants of the World. Marshall Cavendish Corporation, New York.
  4. Areta, J.I., Bodrati, A. and Cockle, K. (2009) Specialization on Guadua bamboo seeds by three bird species in the Atlantic Forest of Argentina. Biotropica, 41: 66 - 73.

Image credit

Purple-winged ground-dove among leaf litter  
Purple-winged ground-dove among leaf litter

© Luiz Claudio Marigo / naturepl.com

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