• San Diego, California, USA
Common Ground Dove (Columbina passerina)

Common Ground Dove (Columbina passerina)

6 ½” (16 cm)1

The common ground dove is a very small, sparrow-sized dove.3 It has a scaly breast, stubby black tail, and its rounded wings flash rufus in flight.1 The dove requires extensive open ground for foraging, so it inhabits open areas: principally orchards, nurseries, and rural ranchettes in San Diego County.4 The common ground dove began colonizing San Diego County in the 1950s, and is now common and increasing in the Anza-Borego Desert.4 It may nest and lay 2 white eggs in a palo verde, California fan palm, or buildings.4 Nests are also often on or close to the ground, hidden in a tuft of grass or among weeds.3 When not breeding, the doves gather in small flocks.4

Excerpt from “The Pigeons and Doves of San Diego County” information pamphlet.


1Peterson, Roger Tory. A Field Guide to Western Birds: A Completely New Guide to Field Marks of All Species Found in North America West of the 100th Meridian and North Of. 3rd ed., Houghton Mifflin, 1990.

2Admin, Aab. “Online Bird Guide, Bird ID Help, Life History, Bird Sounds From Cornell.” All About Birds, 28 Sept. 2022, www.allaboutbirds.org/news.

3The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Eastern Region. Knopf, 1977.

3Hoffmann, Ralph. Birds of the Pacific States. Eleventh Printing, 1955.

4Unitt, Philip. San Diego County Bird Atlas. 1st ed., Sunbelt Publications, 2004.

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