Conservation Status: Least Concern
Scientific Name: Zenaida Galapagoensis
The Galapagos Dove is perhaps one of the most under-rated Galapagos bird species. Few visitors even know of its existence before traveling, but most are quick to snap photos of this attractive-looking bird. It is an endemic species, only found at the Galapagos Islands.
It is fairly common and extremely tame, perhaps too much so, making it an easy meal for early sailors who visited the archipelago. A Galapagos Dove is quite easy to identify thanks to it’s bold and pretty markings. Adults have a dark red/brown upper body, pink neck, and breast, and streaked brown, white & black wings.
Where to find them: Right Across The Archipelago.
When to see them: Year-round.
The Galapagos Dove can be found in open arid and semi-arid areas, with a rocky lowland habitat of scattered trees, bushes, and Opuntia cacti. They are surprisingly reluctant to fly, and will only do so over short distances and if absolutely necessary.
Their breeding season varies on different islands. The male starts by calling out to the female and bowing in front of her with head lowered, wings dropped and tail raised in the air. Usually, two eggs are laid by each nesting couple. They are ground feeders, mostly on seeds, fruit, caterpillars, and Opuntia cactus pulp.
• On Genovesa island, due to the absence of bees, the Opuntia cactus plant has uniquely evolved to have softer spines, allowing the Galapagos Dove to pollinate their flowers while it feeds on soft cactus pulp.
• Galapagos Doves have learned to use a clever ploy to distract predators away from eggs and chicks when their nest is in danger. One adult dove will pretend to be injured, and lure the predator away from the nest with the promise of easy prey.
• The Galapagos Dove is an excellent digger. A single Galapagos dove could remove its own volume of soil in just five minutes, a feat that would take a human over 6 hours.
Written by (John Potts)
John is the original founder of Happy Gringo. He is from London UK and has over 17 years of travel and work experience in Latin America. John ́s biggest passions in life are travel and nature, he has had the pleasure to visit more than 75 different countries, and calls Quito, in Ecuador, home.