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Plain Pigeon - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Joseph Morlan
Maria La Gorda, Pinar del Río, Cuba, 5 November 2015


Length: 38 cm (15 in)
Bill is grey with brownish tip, eye pale (dark in immature birds), feet red. The name indicates a relatively uniform bird, and it is mostly that being greyish brown and paler than other large pigeons from the area. Notice, however, the following:

  • Contrasting, pale grey uppertail coverts
  • Thin white band across upperwing gives a flight pattern hinting at White-winged Dove, but narrower. Can also just be seen on the sitting bird.
  • Reddish brown on folded wings and breast


Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico; rare in most of range, more common in Hispaniola2.


Plain Pigeon has in the past been placed in genus Columba.


This is a polytypic species. Three subspecies are currently recognized1.

  • P.i. inornata: Cuba, Isle of Pines and Hispaniola
  • P.i. exigua: Jamaica
  • P.i. wetmorei: Puerto Rico

Some authorities consider this species to be monotypic5.


Mostly lowlands where found in semi-open areas to dry forests and coastal scrub. Occasional at moderate elevation.


Flight is strong. Frequently occurs alone, but may aggregate where less rare.


Includes fruits, berries, seeds, buds, leaves and flowers.


Recorded in April, May and July in Cuba; season Apr–July in Hispaniola; appears to breed year-round in Puerto Rico, with peak in mid-winter.


Song is a series of coos, typically starting with a single note followed by double notes that are two to three syllable Whoo-whoa or Who-ho-aah.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Raffaele et al. 1998. Birds of the West Indies. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0713649054
  3. Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Boesman, P., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2018). Plain Pigeon (Patagioenas inornata). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/54138 on 29 November 2018).
  4. Miyamoto, M. M., Allard, M. W. and Moreno, J. A. (1994) Conservation genetics of the Plain Pigeon (Columba inornata) in Puerto Rico. Auk 111: 910-916.
  5. Banks, R.C. (1986) A taxonomic reevaluation of the Plain Pigeon (Columba inornata). Auk 103(3): 629–631.

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