email a friend
printable version
Plain Pigeon Patagioenas inornata
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species has a moderately small population, and may be declining in some areas owing to habitat loss and hunting. It therefore qualifies as Near Threatened.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Columba inornata Collar and Andrew (1988), Columba inornata Collar et al. (1994), Columba inornata BirdLife International (2000), Columba inornata BirdLife International (2004), Columba inornata Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), Columba inornata Stotz et al. (1996)

38-40 cm. Large, brownish pigeon. Pale grey-brown, reddish on wings and breast, narrow white fringes to wing-coverts, forming white bar in flight and white leading edge when perched. Similar spp. Scaly-naped Pigeon C. squamosa lacks reddish on wing and breast, and white in wing. Ring-tailed Pigeon C. caribaea has red eye and eye-ring, black tail-band and no white in wing. Voice Resonant whoo, wo-oo or oo-oo.

Distribution and population
Patagioenas inornata was once abundant and widespread in the Caribbean, but has undergone considerable declines. In Cuba, it was widespread, but has now declined; it was thought to be now restricted to six areas: the Guanahacabibes (c.100 pairs, the largest population) and Zapata peninsulas, the sierras de Najasa and del Chorrillo, cayos Romano and Sabinal and the Esteros de Birama (A. Kirkconnell in litt. 1999), but has subsequently been found at another eleven localities (Sanchez et al. 2006). In Jamaica, it was scarce as early as 1840 (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998), and is now rare and local. On Puerto Rico (to USA), it numbered less than 100 in the 1970s, but had increased to c.700 by 1996 (Norton 1996) and recent information suggests that this population totalled 1497-6106 individuals during 1997-2001 (Rivera-Milán et al. 2003). This population increase is attributed to increased food and nesting habitat availability following the recovery of second growth forests, resulting from the abandonment of marginally productive pasture and cropland as Puerto Rico gradually became industrialised from the 1940s onwards (Rivera-Milán et al. 2003). In the Dominican Republic, extensive searches in 1986 failed to find the species, and sites with records in the 1970s had been cleared. However, it has been recently described as locally common (Raffaele et al. 1998), especially in the Sierra de Baoruco (S. Latta in litt. 1998, G. M. Kirwan in litt. 1999). In Haiti, there have been reports of birds in significant numbers, although numbers in Hispaniola overall are not reported to be increasing (C. Rimmer in litt. 2005).

Population justification
Rivera-Milan et al. (2003) reported a population size of 1,497-6,106 individuals, rounded here to 1,500-6,100 individuals, roughly equivalent to 1,000-4,100 mature individuals.

Trend justification
There are no new trend data; however, the species is suspected to be slowly declining, owing to habitat loss and hunting.

It is found mainly in lowland forest, mangrove and swampy areas in Cuba, highland pine and broadleaf forest, and occasionally coastal desert and mangroves in Hispaniola, and wet limestone forests in west, and drier woodlands in southern Jamaica (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998). In Puerto Rico, it formerly occurred in primary lowland forests, but now mainly inhabits secondary growth, pasture and farmland (Baptista et al. 1997). Breeding is during April-July in Cuba and Hispaniola, and year-round in Puerto Rico (Baptista et al. 1997).

Hunting, logging and clearance for plantation agriculture, combined with the devastating effects of hurricanes, have reduced populations (Baptista et al. 1997). Few birds are shot in Jamaica and this does not appear to explain the species's current scarcity on the island (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998). Nest predation may affect reproduction in key areas on Puerto Rico (Rivera-Milán et al. 2003).

Conservation Actions Underway
A recovery programme is underway in Puerto Rico (Miyamoto et al. 1994). Funding is being sought for conservation in Cockpit Country, Jamaica (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998). It is legally protected in Cuba (but this is not enforced), and has been recorded from several protected areas, including the Guanahacabibes Biosphere Reserve, where it has been the subject of an education programme. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to assess numbers and distribution, especially in Cuba and Jamaica (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998, A. Mitchell in litt. 1998). Assess the impact of illegal hunting (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998). Conserve the Cockpit Country, and southern dry limestone forests and woodlands, in Jamaica (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998). Design and implement education programmes in Cuba to reduce hunting pressures (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998). Enforce habitat protection in the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park in Dominican Republic.

Baptista, L. F.; Trail, P. W.; Horblit, H. M. 1997. Family Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. (ed.), Handbook of the birds of the world v.4, pp. 60-243. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Miyamoto, M. M.; Allard, M. W.; Moreno, J. A. 1994. Conservation genetics of the Plain Pigeon (Columba inornata) in Puerto Rico. The Auk 111: 910-916.

Norton, R. L. 1996. West Indies Region. National Audubon Society Field Notes 50: 337-338.

Raffaele, H.; Wiley, J.; Garrido, O.; Keith, A.; Raffaele, J. 1998. Birds of the West Indies. Christopher Helm, London.

Rivera-Milán, F. F.; Ruiz, C. R.; Cruz, J. A.; Sustache, J. A. 2003. Reproduction of Plain Pigeons (Columba inornata wetmorei) in east central Puerto Rico. The Auk 120: 466-480.

Rivera-Milán, F. F.; Ruiz, C. R.; Cruz, J. A.; Vázquez, M.; Martínez, A. J. 2003. Population monitoring of Plain Pigeons in Puerto Rico. Wilson Bulletin 115: 45-51.

Sánchez, B.; Labrada, O.; Wiley, J.W. 2006. Distribución actual de la Torcaza Boba (Patagioenas inornata) en Cuba. Ornitologia Neotropical 17: 227-233.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Harding, M., Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J, Wege, D.

Kirkconnell, A., Kirwan, G., Latta, S., Mitchell, A., Rimmer, C., Sutton, A.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Patagioenas inornata. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Plain pigeon (Patagioenas inornata) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Columbidae (Pigeons, Doves)
Species name author (Vigors, 1827)
Population size 1000-4100 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 50,100 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species