From the field: Ruddy Ground Doves

Jack Clinton-Eitniear


A collared aracari darts among the foliage, finally resting on a bromeliadcovered branch amongst which is cradled the nest of a ruddy ground dove. Using its beak like "chop sticks;' it devours the dove's two eggs. Of 21 ruddy ground dove nests observed by naturalist Alexander Skutch , he was able to document forty eggs of which only twenty hatched. Of the twenty hatchlings, further study revealed that eight survived to fledging (from five nests). Thus, 20 percent of the eggs yielded young and 24 percent produced at least one fledgling. Although one would generally want to attribute such losses to predation, it does not appear to be the case. Infertility, losses of eggs due to their falling out of the nest (often because of climatic conditions or other factors) and nest abandonment seem to be the
major reasons. It would appear, however, that even with only 24% of the nests producing young, with no mention as to how many survive the first year, it must be a sufficient contribution as the species is abundant where it occurs. While aviculturists protect...

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