Chamaepelia inca Lesson, 1847, Mexico. Monotypic.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
French: Colombe inca; German: Aztekentдubchen; Spanish: Tortolita Mexicana.
Very small; 8 in (20 cm), 1.4 oz (40 g). Plumage appears scaly. Every grayish brown feather is subterminally margined with black.
From southern United States to Costa Rica.
Dry and open areas.
Upon trespass by an intruder, the territorial male utters a guttural call of great complexity and takes a horizontal posture in which the tail is vertically raised and partly fanned. Because females look like males, the territorial male always challenges an intruding female. Courtship begins with the male bobbing his head at the female and attempting to take her neck feathers in his bill (heteropreening or billing). If the female is receptive she will bob in return and follow the male’s lead in heteropreening. The incipient pair may remain together for a week or more before undertaking the next stages. During cold weather, to conserve heat at night, they sometimes form pyramids of five to 12 birds in two to three rows, roosting on each other’s backs. May be become hypothermic, body temperature drops 9–22°F (5–12°C) below normal.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Forage on the ground for seeds and small berries.
The precopulatory ritual is a capsule summary of the ritual in pair formation, but takes 15–20 minutes rather than two weeks or so. Males bob and preen and females respond; males go into the bow-coo, standing horizontally with tail raised and widely fanned and giving a call of moderate complexity. Females ultimately beg for ritual feeding. Males feed females, then females stand horizontally with wings slightly raised; males then mount, and copulation occurs. Copulation almost never occurs in pigeons and doves without the courtship feeding first being given. Clutch of two eggs. Incubation for 14 days. Nestlings brooded for eight days, fledging in 14 days; two days after fledging, renesting may start.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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