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Leptotila wellsi

Grenada Dove

  • Order: Columbiformes
  • Family: Columbidae

Authors: Howard, Phillip, and Alvaro Jaramillo



The Grenada dove is a stout, bicoloured bird with a distinctive white breast and forehead, which contrasts with the olive-brown upperparts and dark wings.

Similar Species

Similar to the Caribbean Dove (Leptotila jamaicensis) which does not occur on Grenada. Slightly smaller and duller in color than Zenaida Dove (Zenaida aurita) which has a spotted back and lacks white forehead and belly (Raffaele 1998). Eared Dove (Zenaida auriculata) is smaller, more uniform brown with dark eye and auricular mark, black spots on scapulars and no white in tail.


Song is a distinctive, descending hoooo note lasting about a second in duration. The song is monotonously repeated every 7-8 seconds, sometimes going for hours with very few interruptions during the breeding season. It is believed that only males call. Song is loud and audible for at least 100 meters. Due to topography of Grenada Dove habitat, calling males from the hillsides can be heard in valleys, from outside of dove habitat.

Nonvocal Sounds

None reported

Detailed Description (appearance)

Adult has white throat; face and forehead pale pink shading to dull brown on crown and nape; upperparts olive brown; underwing chestnut; neck and upper breast pink-buff fading to white on lower breast, belly and undertail coverts. Female similar but much duller. Juvenile darker & duller with buff fringes to the feathers.

Thin strip of white feathers extends from the belly up around the shoulders, easily visible and undocumented in many descriptions and drawings of the dove. In flight, cinnamon-colored feathers of inner wing can be seen.

Bare Parts

Legs, feet and bare skin around the eyes are red. Beak is black


Medium-sized, plump bicolored dove measuring 31 cm and weighing approximately 200 grams (Raffaele 1998)



Geographic Variation

Only found in Grenada.


First described as a member of the genus Engyptila in 1884 it was later established as a distinct species Leptotila wellsi using sonographic analysis by Blockstein and Hardy (1988) which it is currently known.

Recommended Citation

Howard, Phillip, and Alvaro Jaramillo. 2013. Grenada Dove (Leptotila wellsi), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: