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 Geotrygon caniceps

This taxon is Not Recognised as a species by BirdLife International.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Taxonomic note
Geotrygon caniceps and G. leucometopia (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) were previously lumped as G. caniceps following Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

28 cm. Greyish dove with distinctive purplish sheen on back. Purplish mantle, blue rump, black tail, brown wings with orangish fringes to primaries. Greyish head, with white forehead in Hispaniola, and uniform, grey crown in Cuba. Underparts greyish with warm ochraceous undertail. Similar spp. Only quail-dove in range without facial stripes and overall the least brown. Voice Continuous uup-uup-uup ..., and lengthy coo-o-o on Hispaniola. Hints Prefers moist areas with leaf-litter. Singly or in pairs, calls from perch rather than forest floor.

Distribution and population
Geotrygon caniceps has a limited distribution and is rare throughout Cuba (subspecies caniceps), being most common on the Zapata Peninsula and Sierra del Rosario. It also occurs on the Cordillera Central, Sierra de Baoruco and Sierra de Neiba in the Dominican Republic (subspecies leucometopius) (Baptista et al. 1997, S. Latta in litt. 1998, Raffaele et al. 1998). There are local reports from the 1920s of a rare, grey quail-dove near the summit of Morne La Selle in Haiti, but intensive habitat destruction has probably extirpated any hypothetical populations (Baptista et al. 1997). It remains locally fairly common on the Sierra de Baoruco (Baptista et al. 1997), but is still only known from eleven localities there and in the Cordillera Central; it is thought to have been extirpated from the Sierra de Neiba (S. Latta in litt. 1998, Garrido et al. 2002, Latta et al. 2006).

In Cuba, it favours drier, limestone-based forest but also inhabits humid lowland forests bordering swamps, and (at least in the Sierra del Rosario) mid-elevation montane forest (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998, A. Kirkconnell in litt. 1999, Garrido et al. 2002). In the Dominican Republic, it occurs in dense, montane moist forests and coffee plantations up to 1,800 m, and is known from two localities at sea-level (Baptista et al. 1997, Raffaele et al. 1998). It feeds on seeds and small invertebrates, foraging on the ground and frequently along tracks, but may perch 10 m above the ground (Baptista et al. 1997).

Habitat destruction has reduced this species to near-extinction on the Cordillera Central and Sierra de Neiba (Baptista et al. 1997). The expansion of cacao, coffee and tobacco production seriously threatens suitable habitat in Cuba, and dry-season burning, drainage, agricultural expansion and introduced predators are severe problems in the Zapata Swamp (Dinerstein et al. 1995, Wells and Mitchell 1995). It is heavily hunted for food in Cuba, using drop-traps baited with orange seeds (Wells and Mitchell 1995).

Conservation Actions Underway
Hunting of the species in the Dominican Republic was prohibited in 1978. Montane forest is poorly represented in the Dominican Republic's protected-areas system, but the wildlife service has recently proposed 15 new areas, including six in montane forest (Schubert 1993, Stattersfield et al. 1998). It occurs within a numbers of reserves in Cuba (including the Corral de Santo Tomás Faunal Refuge in the Zapata Swamp area, La Güira National Park and the Sierra del Rosario Biosphere Reserve), but few are afforded strict protection (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998, Stattersfield et al. 1998). Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to clarify the species's current status and determine the protected areas within which it occurs. Control dry season burning and draining. Enforce laws concerning hunting of the species. Formally designate the proposed reserves in the Dominican Republic. Devise and implement management plans for protected areas. Enforce protection of protected areas.

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.

Dinerstein, E.; Olson, D. M.; Graham, D. J.; Webster, A. L.; Primm, S. A.; Bookbinder, M. P.; Ledec, G. 1995. A conservation assesssment of the terrestrial ecoregions of Latin America and the Caribbean. World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Garrido, O. 1999. Are the Gray-headed Quail-doves from Cuba and Hispaniola (Aves: Columbidae) monotypic species?.

Garrido, O.H., Kirwan, G.M. and Capper, D.R. 2002. Species limits within grey-headed quail-dove Geotrygon caniceps and implications for the conservation of a globally threatened species. Bird Conservation International 12(2): 169-187.

Latta, S.; Rimmer, C.; Keith, A.; Wiley, J.; Raffaele, H.; McFarland, K.; Fernandez, E. 2006. Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, U.S.A.

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

Schubert, A. 1993. Conservation of biological diversity in the Dominican Republic. Oryx 27: 115-121.

Stattersfield, A. J.; Crosby, M. J.; Long, A. J.; Wege, D. C. 1998. Endemic bird areas of the world: priorities for bird conservation. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Wells, L.; Mitchell, A. 1995. The threatened birds of Cuba project.

Further web sources of information
View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J, Wege, D.

Latta, S., Mitchell, A., Kirkconnell, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Geotrygon caniceps. Downloaded from on 30/06/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 30/06/2015.

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 - Grey-headed quail-dove (Geotrygon caniceps) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Not Recognised
Family Columbidae (Pigeons, Doves)
Species name author (Gundlach, 1852)