Scaly-Naped Pigeon

Photo of the Scaly-naped Pigeon, Paloma Turca

Scaly-naped Pigeon, Red-necked Pigeon, Blue Pigeon (Eng.), Paloma Turca, Paloma Rubia (Sp.) Patagioenas squamosa (Sci.), resident, greater and lesser Antilles islands of the Caribbean.

Photo 2005 Dave Mangham/ Information compiled by Alan Mowbray, Interpretive Media Writer, EYNF/LEF

General Information

Class; Aves, Order: Columbiformes, Family: Columbidae, Genus: Patagioenas, Species: P. squamosa. The 17 listed members of the genus Patagioenas are known to occur on various islands in the West Indies.


The Scaly-naped pigeon is a dark gray bird with a purplish, wine colored head, neck and breast. A red inner eye ring can be seen at close range, surrounded by a yellowish-white outer ring. It is a large pigeon at 14 to 16 inches (35.5 to 40 centimeters), weighing 8.8 to 11.4 ounces (250 to 326 grams).


P. squamosa is and arboreal bird, feeding in trees on fruits, seeds, leaf buds and snails. Although large, It manages to hide in trees and is typically seen flying in the distance or when it is perched on a far-away tree limb. Its song is a slow series of four notes, with the last note prolonged: who-hoo-hoo-hoooo. (Click here to hear recording). It calls from January to July, with the peak calls occurring with the fruiting of preferred tree species. The nest is a loose, stick platform constructed on a tree limb, epiphyte or occasionally on the ground. The female lays 1 or 2 glossy, white eggs which incubate in 14 to 15 days. The young fledge in 18 to 22 days. This bird is the most killed of the four pigeon species that are legally hunted on the island.


The Scaly-naped Pigeon is frequently seen in the mountain forests and heavily wooded lowland areas of Puerto Rico.

Where to look for this animal in the EYNF

During the early morning or late afternoon hours on the El Portal Nature Trail adjacent to the El Portal Rain Forest Center. It can often be seen flying above the treetops near the Big Tree Nature Trail in the El Yunque Recreation Area.