The Ruddy Pigeon, Patagioenas subvinacea (see Johnson et al. 2001), is a largish pigeon which breeds from Costa Rica south to western Ecuador, Bolivia and central Brazil. It belongs to a clade of small and rather plain species of Patagioenas with characteristic calls (Johnson et al. 2001) that constitute the subgenus Oenoenas (Mahler & Tubaro 2001).
In Central America it is found in highland forest canopy and semi-open woodland from 1500 m (5000 ft) altitude to the timberline. In South America it occurs in the canopy of humid forest from near sea-level to 1500 m (5000 ft); occasionally higher. It builds a rudimentary platform nest out of twigs 5 m high in a small tree, and lays one white egg.
The Ruddy Pigeon is 28 cm (11 ins) long and weighs 170 g. It is unpatterned and mainly wine-purple in colour, becoming more rufous on the back. The tail and primary flight feathers are dark brown, the bill is black, and the legs are purple-red. The iris is typically red, but can, at least in the Amazon basin, sometimes be dull yellow (however, due to the red eye-ring, the iris never appears as conspiciously white as in adults of the overlapping subspecies of the Plumbeous Pigeon). The female is slightly duller and browner than the male, and the juvenile bird has a greyish brown head, neck and breast, with cinnamon or rufous scaling on the head and upperparts.
Ruddy Pigeon has a loud and fairly high-pitched coo, ko'COO coo call, with considerable pauses between calls just as in its relatives (Mahler & Tubaro 2001). There are some geographical variations in its voice, with some populations singing four-noted songs, while others sing three-noted songs. It is normally seen in pairs as it forages in the tree tops for mistletoe, fruits and berries, but may occasionally be seen on tracks and roadside seeking grit.
In Central America, this species is replaced at lower altitudes by its close relative, the very similar Short-billed Pigeon, Patagioenas nigrirostris. The two species are best separated by call, which is faster and less complex in this species (Mahler & Tubaro 2001).