Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Eared Dove (Zenaida auriculata)


French: Tourterelle oreillarde German: Ohrflecktaube Spanish: Zenaida torcaza
Other common names: Blue-eared Dove

Peristera auriculata

Des Murs

, 1847,



Formerly placed in genus Zenaidura, along with Z. macroura and Z. graysoni, and these three are clearly close relatives, as confirmed by genetic evidence#R. Race pentheria previously listed as ruficauda, but both names from same publication and pentheria selected by First Revisers#R; name rubripes is a junior synonym of stenura, and virgata of chrysauchenia#R. Birds of Nariño (SW Colombia) sometimes separated as race vulcania. Eleven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • Z. a. vinaceorufa Ridgway, 1884 – Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire.
  • Z. a. stenura Bonaparte, 1855 – Lesser Antilles (St Lucia, St Vincent, Barbados, Carriacou, Grenada and Glover) and Trinidad, and from C Colombia (Magdalena Valley) through Venezuela (including Margarita I) S to R Orinoco to Guyana and N Brazil (Rio Branco).
  • Z. a. jessieae Ridgway, 1888 – few localities on banks of lower Amazon (e.g. Diamantina, near Santarem).
  • Z. a. marajoensis Berlepsch, 1913 – islands of Marajó and Mexiana in estuary of R Amazon.
  • Z. a. noronha Sharpe, 1890 – NE Brazil, in Maranhão, Piauí and Bahia; Fernando de Noronha Is.
  • Z. a. pentheria Bonaparte, 1855 – Andes of W Venezuela (Mérida) and E Andes of Colombia.
  • Z. a. antioquiae Chapman, 1917 – Antioquia, in NC Andes of Colombia.
  • Z. a. caucae Chapman, 1922 – Cauca Valley in W Colombia.
  • Z. a. hypoleuca Bonaparte, 1855 – W Ecuador and Peru.
  • Z. a. chrysauchenia Reichenbach, 1847 – Bolivia and C Brazil (Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, São Paulo) S to Uruguay and S Argentina (Chubut) S to Tierra del Fuego.
  • Z. a. auriculata (Des Murs, 1847) – C Chile (Atacama to Llanquihue) and CW Argentina (near Mendoza and L Nahuel Huapi).
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 22–28 cm, 102–125 g; female 22–26 cm, c. 95 g. Crown and nape bluish grey; rest of head, neck and breast pinkish to purplish buff, shading to buff or... read more


    Song similar to Z. macroura, a low-pitched, mournful cooing “whoo’” with... read more


    Inhabits arid to semi-arid scrubland, sometimes with scattered trees or patchy woodland; occurs up... read more

    Food and feeding

    Detailed studies in Argentina indicate that there 85% of the diet consists of cultivated seeds, including sorghum Sorghum bicolor... read more


    Breeding seasons differ regionally and may be highly synchronised, linked to crop seed availability. In Argentina  recorded nesting... read more


    Dispersive.  At intervals of 2–3 years, appears in compact flocks of 1000s in NE Brazil... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The most abundant South American pigeon. Still very common to abundant in many areas, locally superabundant. In general, habitat... read more

    Recommended citation

    Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Boesman, P. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Eared Dove (Zenaida auriculata). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 February 2020).