One of the World's Rarest Birds Edges Toward Rebound in Brazil

Blue-eyed Ground-Doves skulk in white-sand scrub only in the Botumirim area of eastern Brazil. Photo by Ciro Albano

Blue-eyed Ground-Doves skulk in white-sand scrub only in the Botumirim area of eastern Brazil. Photo by Ciro Albano

American Bird Conservancy (ABC) partner SAVE Brasil recorded 25 Blue-eyed Ground-Dove individuals in spring 2020 — the highest count yet for one of the world's rarest birds. Since the dove's rediscovery in eastern Brazil in 2015, conservation actions have progressed toward the goal of securing a safe future for this Critically Endangered species. In 2018, SAVE Brasil created the Blue-eyed Ground-Dove Reserve in the state of Minas Gerais, and the government declared the nearby Botumirim State Park. All known sites for the species are now under some level of protection.

The latest count of 25 Blue-eyed Ground-Doves is four more than last year (see interview with SAVE Brasil's Marcelo Lisita on his work on YouTube). Since the rediscovery, more individuals are being found in the wild each year. Also, as SAVE Brasil gains more experience with the bird's behavior and habitat, the organization is planning more habitat-specific searches later this year, when it will be more likely males will be singing. Part of this work will include leaving audio-logging devices at certain sites to better understand the birds' presence in these more remote areas.

ABC's Latin American Reserve Stewardship Initiative (LARSI) is supporting SAVE Brasil's Blue-eyed Ground-Dove project for 2020. SAVE contracted Brazilian nest expert Tony Bichinski to visit the project in January 2020. During his field visit, Bichinski identified four active nests, three of which had eggs. The monitoring staff were able to set up a remote camera to film the active nest. It is not clear why this species is so rare, so collecting every bit of natural history information is important, especially to learn what the dove needs for successful breeding. The new information will be applied to SAVE Brasil's monitoring program and reserve management plan.

ABC gratefully acknowledges March Conservation Fund and David and Patricia Davidson for their support of this ongoing project.


Media Contact: Jordan Rutter, Director of Public Relations, 202-888-7472 | | @JERutter
Expert Contact: Bennett Hennessey, Brazil Program Coordinator |

American Bird Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@ABCbirds).