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Scaly-naped Pigeon

Patagioenas squamosa

Length: 14-16 inches Wingspan: 23-26 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys:  Dark gray overall, reddish-brown head, neck, and breast.  Yellowish outer eye ring, red inner eye ring.

Scaly-naped Pigeon - Patagioenas squamosaThe Scaly-naped Pigeon is a large, dark pigeon of tropical woodlands in the Caribbean. It is only an extremely rare straggler to the United States, with a handful of sightings in Florida.  It is found throughout most islands in the Caribbean, except for Jamaica and in the Bahamas.  An easily identified species with it's dark, wine-colored head and neck, it is often locally called the "Red-necked Pigeon".

Habitat: Found in a variety of forested habitats. While they can be found along forest edges and near forest clearings, they are most likely to be found in intact lowland and montane forests. They can also sometimes be found in and around suburban areas.

Diet: Feeds heavily on vegetative matter such as seeds, fruits, and leaf buds, but will also feed on animal matter, particularly small snails and other invertebrates. 

Behavior: Arboreal, feeding in forested canopies, but they will also feed on the ground.  They are only occasionally gregarious, as they are most often found alone or in small groups.  They will sometimes associate with other tropical doves such as Zenaida Dove.

Nesting: The nest is a loose platform of sticks, usually constructed on a tree limb, but also sometimes in a dense shrub or less often, on the ground.  The female lays 1 or 2 eggs, with the young hatching after about 2 weeks.  Young fledge after 3 weeks.

Song: The song is a series of four slow notes, with a prolonged last note, as in woo-hoo-hoo-HOOOOooooo. 

Migration: Considered a permanent resident throughout its range.  However, any migration is poorly understood, and the rare occurrence of the species in Florida suggests that some movements may occur. 

Interactive eBird map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Scaly-naped Pigeon sightings

Similar Species: Distinctive if seen well.

Conservation Status: Broad-scale forest cutting in the Caribbean has undoubtedly had a negative impact on the species. They are also a popular game bird and hunting can have strong impacts on local populations.  However, overall they cover a wide geographic range and have a large population.  The IUCN lists the Scaly-naped Pigeon as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) El Yungque National Forest - Species account - Scaly-naped Pigeon

2) BirdLife International - Scaly-naped Pigeon

3) Cornell's Neotropical Birds - Scaly-naped Pigeon

Photo Information: Photo taken in June 2015 - St. John's Island, U.S. Virgin Islands - Terry Sohl


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Scaly-naped Pigeon - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional Scaly-naped Pigeon Photos
Scaly-naped Pigeon - Patagioenas squamosa Scaly-naped Pigeon - Patagioenas squamosa