Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2003-09

Common name:

Ruddy Ground Dove

Scientific name: Columbina talpacoti
Date: Nov 2, 1991
Time: 4:00 - 5:00 PM
Length of time observed: 4-5 minutes; three times with hr
Number: 1
Age: Adult (basic adult plumage)
Sex: Male
Location: Lytle's Ranch, Beaver Dam Wash in Washington County, S.S. Utah.
County: Washington
Distance to bird: 30 - 4- feet
Optical equipment: 8x20 Binocs & 20x30 spotting scope; pictures were taken using a VCR camera by Mark Hokpins on Oct 31.   He called me & I traveled down to the ranch & saw it Nov. 2.
Weather: Cool (40 - 50 F) & cloudy; VCR photos on Oct. 31 - Day was clear & Sun
(Prior weather and number of days since change) Previous cold & windy weather to the north. Not aware of weather changes in Arizona.
Light Conditions: Cloudy & overcast
Detailed description of bird: Head, Nape & Crown - Grayish blue.

Throat - Grayish-white

Upperparts - Rich Brownish-pink color all across back, rump & wings.  No gray color on back or wings like in Common Ground Dove.

Wings - Flecked with 10 -12 blackish specks showed rich reddish-brown tones in primaries when it flew.

Tail - Dark with black borders.  Never did see any white, because it flew away so quickly & disappeared into the thick, nearby vegetation.

Bill - Darker throughout lengh & going to a lighter color near base; not yellow though.

Overall size - Blackbird size, but with shorter tail & more plump body

(See the video clips and photos taken from the tape)

Song or call & method of delivery: None detected
Behavior: This bird fed on seeds & chicken mash on a dirt road just north of the large trailer at the ranch.  It would crouch low while feeding with breast close to & on the ground.  When it walked it nodded its head, when it flew it was only about ten yards into some plum bushes, but it was a rapid, direct flight.  It stayed in the vegetation for a long time (sometimes hours) before venturing out to feed.
Habitat: Trees, Bushes & Grass.  Road. Ranch buildings (sheds, house, etc. & a long trailer house)
Similar species and
how were they eliminated:
Common Ground Dove (Columbina passerina) - C. passerina has scaled appearance on head & breast, grayer plumage overall.
c. talpacoti totally lacked the scaled appearance & was more rosy pink color overall.
Also, I showed the video segment to Clayton White, B.Y.U. ornithologist, who came to conclusion it was c. talpacoti.  Next, we checked specimens of c.talpacoti in the B.Y.U. ornithological collections.  There were 3 specimens to compare with & the bird we had on tape matched these.
Next, we checked the description in the A.O.U. checklist & also in a textbook called Doves & Pigeons of the World to determine Common Ground-Dove juvenile characteristics & compared with Ruddy Ground-Dove,. Conclusion: C. talpacoti
Previous experience with this & similar species: None with this one. Have seen Common Ground in Ariz. & Inca Dove in Utah.
References consulted: Doves & Pigeons of the World
Description from:  
Observer: G. Merrill Webb
Observer's address: 1063 East 400 North, Orem, Utah 84057  (801) 224-6113
Observer's e-mail address:  
Other observers who independently identified
this bird:
Date prepared: Nov. 5. 1991 (resubmitted 14 April 2003)
Additional material: Video tape  (video clips and photos taken from the tapeOriginal Documents
Additional comments: Note - This is a first sighting for the state of Utah.  We considered the possibility of this being an escapee from a zoo or a pet shop.  But Vince Mowbray, a Los Vegas, Nev. birder, informed off a Ruddy Ground Dove north of Las Vegas & 4 - 5 in California a couple of weeks prior to this sighting.  Based on this information I feel that it is more than likely a naturally-occurring bird & not an escaped one. M. Webb