Blue-headed Quail Dove
Starnoenas cyanocephala

AKA: Blue-headed Ground Pigeon; Black-bearded Dove, Cuban Blue-headed Quail Dove, Cuban Blue-headed Dove


©Neotropical Bird Club                                                                      ©Chris G Bradshaw May 1999
The two pictures above are of the species in the wild.

Distribution: Endemic to Cuba. Primarily inhabits the humid dense forests of Cuba. Found in open woodlands with stony substrate & continuous dense forest canopy; also in the forests near swamps as well as in drier forests. Said to prefer the open under-story of the forests because of the preference for walking & feeding on the forest floor.

Description: (Linnaeus 1758) Length 30 cm or about 12". Typical "quail dove" shape. Entire top of head a bright cobalt blue bordered by a black stripe from the mouth thru the eye & meeting at the hindneck. Below the black stripe there is a white stripe running from the lower bill to almost meeting at the hindneck. Throat, sides of the neck & center of breast  form a large black patch which is bordered by a fine white along the breast. Feathers on sides of throat ridged & centers spotted with cobalt blue creating rows of blue spots across the  throat. Breast pale pinkish purple shading to olive brown tinged with purple on sides, back of neck & mantle. Buff brown on belly, remaining plumage dark buff brown with olive tinge. Eyes dark brown. Bill greyish with dark red at base. female similar but paler. juvenile a duller olive brown overall with wing shields having buff brown edges.

Voice: A deep two-syllable "ooowup....ooowup" repeated in long series at about 2 second intervals with each note ending abruptly.

Nesting: Two white eggs. No incubation or fledging data recorded yet. Quite rare in captivity & in the wild.