Key West Quail-Dove (Geotrygon chrysia)

Key West Quail-Dove


The Key West quail-dove (Geotrygon chrysia) is a species of bird from the doves and pigeon family Columbidae. It is probably most closely related to the bridled quail-dove. The Key West quail-dove is approximately 27–31 cm in length. The bird is distinguished by having a dark rust-colored back and similarly colored wings. It has some amethyst or bronze green iridescence on its crown, nape and in the back of its neck. The mantle, back, rump and inner wing coverts show some purplish red iridescence. It also has a bold white facial stripe. Its call is similar that of the white-tipped dove.

Distribution And Habitat

The Key West Quail-Dove is a species native to the Greater Antilles and The Bahamas (Raffaele and others 1998). In Puerto Rico, this species has been reported for the mainland, Mona, and Vieques (Biaggi 1997, Bowdish 1902, Raffaele 1989a), in the latter being a rare to extremely rare resident (Gemmill 2015). In Puerto Rico, it is known from western Ponce in the southern region and from Arecibo to Isabela among the haystack hills of the northern coast. Nonetheless, a population was reported from the southern area of the Tortuguero Lagoon (Raffaele 1989a). It usually inhabits coastal forested areas and wooded, scrubby thickets in arid areas (Saliva 1994). It is difficult to observe as it is more frequently found on the ground than in trees (Biaggi 1997). The species mostly inhabits the understory of dense forests with ample leaf litter, primarily in arid and semi-arid areas. However, it has also been documented in moist and wet mountain forests with undisturbed understory (Raffaele and others 1998). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 63 records within 44 hexagons or 9 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 44 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 7 percent (3) of the hexagons, probable in 7 percent (3), and possible in 86 percent (38) (see map). Key West Quail-Dove 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. 57Key West Quail-Dove/Paloma Perdiz Áurea

Key West Quail-Dove Distribution

Breeding Habits

The Key West Quail-Dove builds its nest of branches and plants (Biaggi 1997). The nests are usually built above the ground in bushes or small trees and are commonly located either on the ground or in low undergrowth among bromeliads (Raffaele 1998). Atlas results show that this species breeding season extends mostly from January to August, with the most breeding activity from March through June, and to a lesser extent from October to December (see chart). Results show that this species breeds within the subtropical moist forest life zone (66 percent of the hexagons) at the northern karst region of the island, although it is considered possible for it to breed in the subtropical dry forest life zone (16 percent of the hexagons) as well as in the subtropical wet and lower montane wet forest life zones (18 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map).


The global population trend of the Key West Quail-Dove has not been quantified or assessed, but it is described as fairly common (Stotz and others 1996). 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 Key West Quail-Dove has a protected habitat in land of 24 percent or 255 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (1052 km2).