Scaly-naped Pigeon (Patagioenas squamosa)

Scaly-naped Pigeon


The scaly-naped pigeon (Patagioenas squamosa), also known as the red-necked pigeon, is a bird belonging to the family Columbidae. The species occurs throughout the Caribbean.

Distribution And Habitat

The Scaly-naped Pigeon is a common to fairly common year- round resident on Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and other islands of the Lesser Antilles, as well as the mountain forests of the Dominican Republic and Haiti (Raffaele and others 1998). Its range is limited to the West Indies and islands off the north coast of Venezuela (Raffaele and others 1998). In Puerto Rico, it can be observed throughout the main island (Raffaele 1989a) and larger offshore islands such as Desecheo (Meier and others 1989), Mona (Barnés 1946, Bowdish 1902, Gordon and others 1961, Terborgh and Faaborg 1973), Culebra (Wetmore 1917), and Vieques (Sorrié 1975, USFWS 1994, Wetmore 1916), in the latter being a fairly common resident (Gemmill 2015). It is an irregular visitor to Puerto Ricos offshore islands (Raffaele 1989a). This species usually occurs in humid forests (Bond 1961, Oberle 2018), coffee plantations (Biaggi 1997), and parks, sometimes moving into urban areas to feed on fruits (J.A. Salguero-Faría, personal observation 2009). Systematic surveys of the pigeon indicate that the species is most abundant in moist and wet life zones and rarer in the subtropical life zone (Rivera-Milán 1992). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 653 records within 325 hexagons or 68 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 325 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 7 percent (22) of the hexagons, probable in 45 percent (145), and possible in 48 percent (155), while the species was observed in 1 percent (3) of the hexagons but without evidence of breeding (see map).Scaly-naped Pigeon distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding. 43Scaly-naped Pigeon/Paloma Turca

Scaly-naped Pigeon Distribution

Breeding Habits

The Scaly-naped Pigeon usually builds a frail stick nest in a tree or bush, but the nest can also be constructed on a palm frond or a bromeliad (Raffaele and others 1998). Previously published reports indicate that the Scaly-naped Pigeon breeds throughout the year but primarily from March to June (Raffaele and others 1998). On Puerto Rico and its satellite islands, columbid nesting season extends from February to September, but nest density peaks during April–June, and year-round nesting is infrequent (Rivera- Milán 1996). Atlas results show that this species breeding season extends throughout the year with the most breeding activity from March to June (see chart). Breeding activity peaks in June after the onset of the rainy season, and it mostly takes place in the subtropical moist forest life zone (see chart). Results show that this species breeds mostly within the subtropical moist forest life zone (59 percent of the hexagons) (see table). However, results indicate that it also breeds at higher elevations within the subtropical wet forest life zones (26 percent of the hexagons), as well as in the coastal plains of the subtropical dry forest life zone (15 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map).


The current population trend of the Scaly-naped Pigeon is described as decreasing (del Hoyo and others 2013). However, this species is currently listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2016). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Scaly-naped Pigeon has a protected habitat in land of 13 percent or 981 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (7699 km2).