The Blue Ground-Dove is a small, sexually dimorphic dove. The male is pearly blue-gray overall, with black spots on the secondaries and wing coverts, and entirely black primaries. The female is cinnamon-brown, with a rufous rump, dark brown spots on the secondaries and wing coverts, and blackish primaries. The association of the bluish male and rufescent female is often the first clue to identification.
The male Blue Ground-Dove is almost unmistakable. The female Blue Ground-Dove is similar to female Maroon-chested Ground-Dove (Claravis mondetoura), but Maroon-chested has a buffy face, is browner on the underparts, has broader, purplish (not chestnut) bars on the wing coverts, and has white tips to the outer rectrices; Maroon-chested Ground-Dove also usually occurs at higher elevations. The female Purple-winged Ground-Dove (Claravis godefrida) also has broader, purplish wing bars and the rump and tail are less rufescent.
Female Blue Ground-Dove is larger than Columbina ground-doves, is longer tailed, and lacks black spots on wings and the back.
The following description is based on Wetmore (1968):
Adult, male: Bluish gray; forecrown and throat light grayish white. Back and wings darker; wing coverts and inner secondaries with a variable number of dark spots. Primaries and secondaries black.
Adult, female: Upperparts light olive-brown to cinnamon-brown, shading to russet on uppertail coverts and central rectrices. Forecrown and sides of head brownish gray. Wings spotted with chestnut. Throat white. Upper breast tawny olive, shading to pale gray on lower breast and flanks. Center of belly white. Undertail coverts russet, more or less mixed with gray.
Information needed. Contribute
Iris: dark orange, dark orange-red, or reddish orange; bare orbital skin gray
Bill: bill mostly yellow, with a dusky culmen; cere pale greenish gray
Tarsi and toes: dull rosy white, pale pink
Data from Wetmore (1968)
Total length: 18.5-21 cm (Wetmore 1968)
Linear measurements (mm) of Claravis pretiosa from Panama (Wetmore 1968)
| || || wing|| tail|| culmen|| tarsus|
| male|| mean (n = 12)|| 113.2|| 69.1|| 14.6|| 19.1|
| || range|| 111.5-116.3|| 64.0-76.0|| 13.4-15.6|| 18.0-20.2|
| female|| mean (n = 8)|| 109.4|| 69.2|| 14.3|| 18.7|
| || range|| 106.5-112.4|| 67.0-71.0|| 13.3-15.1|| 17.9-29.3|
Mass: male, mean 71.0 g (standard deviation ± 8.1, n = 48, range 58-103 g); female mean 65.6 g (standard deviation ± 9.2, n = 52, range 41-93 g); samples from Brazil (Oniki and Willis 1999).