Red-billed Pigeon

Patagioenas flavirostris

  • Version: 1.0 — Published January 1, 2002
  • Peter E. Lowther

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Figure 1. Distribution of the Red-billed Pigeon.
Adult Red-billed Pigeon, Mexico, November

; photographer Kevin T. Karlson

Adult Red-billed Pigeon, Texas, May

Photographed along the Rio Grande River in Chapeno, Texas; May; photographer Steve Kelling

This dark, arboreal, fruit-eating pigeon serves as the “standard large, hot- country pigeon” of the lowlands and foothills of Mexico and Central America (Oberholser 1974c: 412). Distribution of this tropical pigeon does extend north far enough to include the lower Rio Grande valley, with but a slight presence in the United States in Texas. This species' bill is bicolored—red on the base and cere, with a more noticeable yellow tip, characters referenced by both its common (Red-billed) and scientific (flavirostris = “yellow bill”) names.

The Red-billed Pigeon's life history remains poorly documented, with the most extensive contributions those of Alexander Skutch (Skutch 1964, and repeated in Skutch Skutch 1983a, Skutch 1991), who was able to make observations of breeding individuals in Costa Rica. Much of this species' biology is likely similar to other Columba pigeons which usually lay a single-egg clutch. The biology of the Band-tailed Pigeon (C. fasciata; Keppie and Braun 2000) provides a general model of life history and biology that can be applied to the Red-billed Pigeon as an overall description of behavior and breeding. The Red-billed Pigeon is sometimes sympatric with the Band-tailed Pigeon in northeastern and central Mexico, but Red-billed Pigeons occur at lower elevations and Band-tailed Pigeons generally inhabit dry montane forests.

Recommended Citation

Lowther, P. E. (2002). Red-billed Pigeon (Patagioenas flavirostris), version 1.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole and F. B. Gill, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.