Inca Dove (Columbina inca)

Inca Dove

[order] COLUMBIFORMES | [family] Columbidae | [latin] Columbina inca | [UK] Inca Dove | [FR] Colombe inca | [DE] Inkataubchen | [ES] Tortolita Mexicana, Tortolita Colilarga (Cr), Turquita Inca (HN) | [NL] Inkaduif


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

A very small, slim dove with a scaly look. Rufous in the primaries (as in Ground-Dove) but has a longer, square-ended tail with white sides.

Listen to the sound of Inca Dove

[audio: Dove.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 30 cm wingspan max.: 33 cm
size min.: 18 cm size max.: 23 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 15 days
fledging min.: 12 days fledging max.: 16 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 6  


North America, Middle America : Southwest USA to Costa Rica


Towns, parks, farms. In the United States, found mostly around human dwel
lings, especially where there are green lawns and plantings of trees. Will inhabit desert yards or very urbanized areas as long as water is available. Sometimes nests away from human habitations along lowland streams or rivers.


Male defends breeding territory against other males, displaying with one wing raised over back; males will sometimes fight vigorously. In courtship, male bobs head, raises tail high over back and spreads it wide to show off markings.
Nest: Site varies, usually in tree or shrub 5-20′ above ground, sometimes as high as 50′ or on ground. May be on building ledg
e, wire, other artificial site. Nest (built by female, with material gathered by male) a small platform of twigs, stems, leaves, sometimes lined with grass.
Eggs: 2. White. Incubation is by both parents, 15-16 days.
Young: Both parents care for young. As in other doves, young presumably are fed “pigeon milk,” a secretion produced in the crop of adults. Young leave nest at about 12-
16 days, are tended by parents another week or so. A pair may raise up to 4-5 broods per year.

Feeding habits

Mostly seeds. Feeds on a wide variety of seeds, including waste grain, grass seeds, birdseed. May sometimes eat fruits, such as those of cactus.
Behavior: Forages almost entirely on the ground, walking about on bare soil or among short grass or weeds. Will also come t
o bird feeders (which may be important in maintaining city flocks). Regularly swallows grit (small gravel) to aid in digestion of hard seeds.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Inca Dove status Least Concern


Southwestern United States to northwestern Costa Rica.
b Migration: Mostly a permanent resident. Sometimes wanders northward in fall and winter; birds that stray north and remain to breed help to expand the species’ range.

Distribution map

Inca Dove distribution range map

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