Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Sapphire Quail-dove (Geotrygon saphirina)


French: Colombe saphir German: Saphirtaube Spanish: Paloma perdiz zafiro

Geotrygon saphirina


, 1855,

River Napo, Ecuador


Until recently treated as conspecific with G. purpurata; the two were often separated in monospecific genus Osculatia. Differs from G. purpurata in having a white spot on median tertial (2);  grey-green vs indigo mid-crown to nape, with indistinct white/grey border vs sharp white/indigo forecrown/mid-crown border  (3); line of hindcrown also  grey-green crown shading into pinkish-bronzy nape and mantle vs sharply divided from nape(3);  back purplish-tinged  vs royal blue-tinged(ns[1]); “different” voice#R, with main song-type having consistently longer single notes#R (at least 1); iris colour also stated to be different#R.Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. s. saphirina Bonaparte, 1855 – E Ecuador to SE Peru (Cuzco) and extreme W Amazonian Brazil (Amazonas); also SE Colombia (Amazonas, Putamayo)#R.
  • G. s. rothschildi (Stolzmann, 1926) – known only from Cadena in Marcapata Valley (SE Peru).
  • Descriptive notes

    22–26 cm; 139·4–199 g. White on forehead, throat and below eye; conspicuous purple-black malar stripe extending below and beyond ear-coverts; crown dark... read more


    Song is a two-note monotonous “hu..huuuuu” or “ca..whooooo”, the first note much shorter than the... read more


    Occupies undergrowth and ground level of lowland and montane evergreen, forests, often in hilly... read more

    Food and feeding

    No good data available. Probably takes seeds and small invertebrates. Apparently strictly terrestrial; typically occurs singly, or in well-... read more


    Little known. Three nests found in E Ecuador in Mar–Apr 2005 were stick and rootlet platforms, 1·7–3 m up in shrubbery,... read more


    Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Nevertheless, generally regarded as uncommon and very locally distributed, and in Brazil is known solely from around Benjamin... read more

    Recommended citation

    Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Kirwan, G.M., Boesman, P. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Sapphire Quail-dove (Geotrygon saphirina). 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 24 February 2020).