Mountain Witch dove (Geotrygon versicolor)
The Mountain Witch dove hails from the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, and its strange moniker was likely inspired by its mysterious sounding calls. This bird has many names that are increasingly popular, including Crested Quail dove, Jamaican dove, and Blue dove. They have very sweet dispositions and a characteristically bouncy walk, bobbing their heads with every step. When they sense danger, the doves will ‘freeze’ in place, as their luminous plumage gives off glints of blue, green, and purple in the sunlight. In the wild, the birds like to munch on seeds and fallen fruit but especially enjoy small insects such as mealworms.
These doves breed in the late spring. Mates build small twig nests close to the ground. Each clutch of two cream-colored eggs incubates for thirteen days, with males warming the eggs during the day and the female taking over at night. The young chicks feed on both parents’ crop-milk. As they mature, young birds lose their duller baby feathers, and once fledged the birds quickly grow their more brightly colored adult patterns. Adults usually spend their time picking through leaves and twigs on the forest floor. Oddly enough, when fleeing a predator Mountain Witch Doves prefer to run along the ground. These birds also love to sunbathe, producing vital nutrients just like humans.