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Black-winged Ground-Dove
Metropelia melanoptera

Black-winged Ground-Dove
Palomita de Alas Negras
Metriopelia melanoptera
Length: 230mm. Sexes alike. Bill black, eyelids orange; iris white; chin whitish; head, neck and upper breast pale brownish grey, remainder of breast, flanks and abdomen brownish grey, paler than upper breast; undertail coverts brownish grey in lesser coverts and turning black on the greater coverts, all wing coverts margined with pale brownish grey. Upperparts greyish brown, slightly ochraceous in tone; lesser uppertail coverts as back, shading to brown on longer feathers; central rectrices brown, lateral rectrices very dark brown to blackish. Tertiary and more proximal secondary wing coverts as back; greater wing coverts and secondaries shade from greyish brown as back to brownish grey and then to very dark greyish brown with fine brownish grey margins to most distal feathers; bend of wing white; alula, coverts at base of primaries and primaries very dark greyish brown to blackish; underwing coverts grey except at the tip of the wing, where they are white; greater underwing coverts blackish; axillaries grey. Legs blackish grey.
Juvenile: similar to adults but overall paler. Identified by its coloration, other useful identification characters are the bend of the wing, that is white, and primaries, that are very dark; the tail is blackish, the iris white. Legs are blackish grey, in comparison to all other species found in Argentina, that have red legs. Habitat and behaviour: this species frequents grassy steppes, scrub and shrubby steppes, very stony, hillsides and ravines, preferably at higher elevations. It is found in pairs or not very large parties. Almost invariably found on the ground. Very tame. Wings make a very peculiar sound during flight. It prefers to perch on rocks and crags, also on the branches of dried bushes. Food consists of small seeds. It nests in cavities and holes in rocky walls, where two white eggs are laid. In the southwest of Río Negro and northwest of Chubut it is fairly common from October to the end of March, where it gathers in groups of 30-40 individuals that then migrate northwards in autumn. It rarely comes down to the pre- Andean humid grassland and in more than 30 years the authors sighted a specimen only once in the valley of El Bolsón, province of Río Negro. They sighted another specimen in the urban area of the city of San Carlos de Bariloche.
Range: in Patagonia from Neuquén and west of the provinces of Río Negro, Chubut and Santa Cruz up to the north of Tierra del Fuego. The populations that reach the Patagonian region migrate to the north in autumn as far as Jujuy in Argentina. It also occurs in Chile, from Arica to Aysén, and on the west of South America as far north as Peru.
Illustrated Handbook of the Birds of Patagonia
Kindless: Kovacs Family

Photographs: Mariano Diez Peña

Birding Patagonia • Birdwatcing in Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina and Chile.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction of photographs is forbidden without permission from the authors.
Photographs on the website: Mariano Diez Peña