Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)


Grey-headed Quail-dove (Geotrygon caniceps)


French: Colombe de Gundlach German: Graukopf-Gundlachtaube Spanish: Paloma perdiz camao
Other common names: Grey-fronted Quail-dove

Columba caniceps


, 1852,



Like most of congeners, formerly placed in genus Oreopeleia. Formerly considered conspecific with G. leucometopia but now normally split#R, based on present species having greyish-white vs bold white forehead (3);  mid-grey vs dull darkish grey rest of crown and head-sides (1); glossy purple of mantle showing little extension onto the breast-sides in most specimens (variable character; 1); less rufous in wings (ns[1]); song described as different#R— ‘a continuous, low uup-uup-uup-uup without pauses” rather than ‘a prolonged coo-o-o’(this latter confirmed by a single recording) (2); longer tail in male#R, effect size 1.18 (1). Probably also close to G. versicolor, with which shares chestnut underwing and lack of black facial markings. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Cuba (local in forests, mainly in Zapata Peninsula and Sierra del Rosario).

Descriptive notes

Male 26–30 cm, female 27 cm; 192–210 g. Forehead greyish white merging gradually to grey on crown, occiput and nape; slight purplish iridescence on back of head;... read more


Song comprises long series of short, low-pitched “haoo” or “cooo” notes, given either very rapidly... read more


Mainly in tropical lowland forests and old second growth, both on dry land with permanent small... read more

Food and feeding

No detailed studies. Feeds on seeds and small invertebrates (insects, grubs and caterpillars). Forages on the ground, frequently along... read more


Season at least Jan–Aug, as birds ready to lay collected in early Aug. Nest of twigs and leaves, lined with rootlets and/or grasses,... read more


Resident. Flight is swift and direct.

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Restricted-range species: present in Cuba EBA. One of the rarest doves on Cuba, where mainly recorded in W & C, and now generally very uncommon and local, but... read more

Recommended citation

Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Grey-headed Quail-dove (Geotrygon caniceps). 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 25 January 2020).