Purple-winged Ground-dove Paraclaravis geoffroyi


Justification of Red List Category
The combination of specialised ecological requirements, and the loss and fragmentation of suitable habitat severely threaten this species. The paucity of records in the last decade suggests that this species now has an extremely small population that is highly fragmented and declining owing to continuing habitat loss. It is therefore listed as Critically Endangered.

Population justification
The population is placed in the band 50-249 mature individuals, equating to 75-374 individuals in total, rounded here to 70-400 individuals. Dedicated surveys and quantified population estimates would be desirable to confirm this.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be declining at a rate of 1-19% over ten years, in line with habitat loss within its highly fragmented range. Given the patchy nature, spatially and temporally, of bamboo stands, and the known impact that habitat fragmentation has had on other semi-colonial Columbiformes historically, it may have declined or be continuing to decline at a much more rapid rate, with serious conservation implications.

Distribution and population

Claravis geoffroyi was fairly common at the beginning of the 20th century, judging by the wide scatter of specimen records and reports of flocks of up to 100 birds. At that time it occurred from Bahia (Brazil), south through eastern Brazil to northern Argentina and eastern Paraguay, from sea-level to 2,300 m. In the last thirty years there have been a small number of reports of up to five individuals, including one from eastern Paraguay in 1994 (Lowen et al. 1996) and a few from Brazilian sites such as Itatiaia (Rio de Janeiro; 2004, possible in 2006); Ubatuba (São Paulo; 1997 and 2004), Intervales (São Paulo; 2003 and 2007) and Urubici (Santa Catarina; 1997), as well as from coastal Paraná and Espirito Santo (Naka et al. 2000, Carrano et al. 2004, Simon 2004, Mazar Barnett et al. 2005, G. M. Kirwan in litt. 2006, J. Pedro in litt. 2009, A. Whittaker in litt. 2009). In Argentina there are records from Iguazú, Misiones Province, in 1990 (Chebez 2008), 1991 (F. Lambert per J. Tobias in litt. 2006), and 2007 (Areta et al. 2009, Bodrati 2009). These reports are almost certainly reliable, but none are documented. 
The paucity of recent records suggests that extremely severe declines have occurred and it has been suggested that the species may now be extinct (Lees & Pimm 2015), however there is an unconfirmed record from San Ignacio, Misiones Province, Argentina in 2017 (eBird 2018). The species was recently designated Possibly Extinct in Brazil (MMA 2014). Its range is now highly fragmented; this coupled with its specialised habitat requirements appear to render the species highly vulnerable to extinction.


It inhabits humid Atlantic forest, apparently with a preference for edge habitats in rather hilly, broken terrain. Records range from near sea-level to 2,300 m. All known records of the species in Argentina coincide with flowering events of only two species of bamboos: takuarusu Guadua chacoensis and yatevo G.trinii (Areta et al. 2009). Since it depends on bamboo seeds, and most species of bamboos produce seeds synchronously over large areas and only after many years of vegetative growth, the species must travel widely between patches of seeding bamboo (Bodrati 2009). Its Andean relative Maroon-chested Ground-dove C. mondetoura is rarely found away from patches of flowering or seeding bamboo where it gathers to forage and breed, sometimes semi-colonially (Tobias et al. 2006). Assuming their ecological requirements are similar C. goeffroyi probably undertakes irregular nomadic movements following bamboo flowerings, but it has been recorded eating other seeds (including those of sedges and grasses) and fruit. Breeding apparently occurs in the austral summer, with birds calling from November to February (Naka et al. 2000). Historically it was reported in flocks of up to 100, but no recent records have involved more than five individuals (Baptista et al. 2015). 


The clearance and fragmentation of Atlantic forest for colonisation and the expansion of plantation agriculture (Dinerstein et al. 1995) have increased the physical and temporal distances between bamboo flowerings. Given its apparently highly specialised requirements, it is not inconceivable that this fragmentation is already too extensive to ensure the long-term survival of the species. It is uncommon in trade, but the taking of additional birds from the wild must have a considerable impact on such a small population.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It is considered Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) in Brazil (MMA 2014). It is protected by Brazilian law, and has been recorded in a number of protected areas in Brazil, including the Floresta Estadual do Palmito (Paraná), the Augusto Ruschi Biological Reserve (Espirito Santo), and several sites in the Serra do Mar. It is also reported from Iguazú National Park, Argentina. However, numbers observed are small and no population is known to be adequately protected. The small captive population held by a few Brazilian aviculturists has apparently died out.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Urgently survey to locate additional populations, using tape-playback if possible, and focusing search on bamboo flowering events. Record and document its vocalisations. Develop a CMS agreement for this and other bamboo specialists. Study basic aspects of its biology (feeding, habitat use, breeding) to determine measures needed to conserve the species. Consider protecting the appropriate species of bamboo through existing legislation (such as Provincial Natural Monuments in Misiones) on all public and private land (Bodrati 2009).


19-23 cm. Distinctive ground-dove. Male slate-blue above, paler below. Whitish face and belly. White tail with grey central rectrices. Two or three dark purple bands across wing, edged white. Dark red legs, blackish bill. Female matt brown with paler belly and throat. Wing-bands less purple. Central rectrices brown, outers black with broad buff tips. Dark brown legs. Similar spp. Male Blue Ground-dove C. pretiosa is richer blue, and has black wing spots and outer rectrices. Female is more rufescent, especially rump and central rectrices. Voice Has been described as a plaintive u-ut, but there are no known recordings (A. Bodrati in litt. 2012, Baptista et al. 2015).


Text account compilers
Sharpe, C.J., Symes, A., Temple, H., Williams, R., Wheatley, H., Bird, J., Calvert, R., Butchart, S., Benstead, P., Capper, D.

Kirwan, G.M., Malacco, G., Olmos, F., Pedro, J., Tobias, J., Whittaker, A., Cockle, K. & Bodrati, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Paraclaravis geoffroyi. Downloaded from on 30/05/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 30/05/2023.