The large and distinctive blue-headed quail-dove (Starnoenas cyanocephala) is stunningly marked, taking its name from the brilliant cobalt blue crown and forehead (2) (3) (4) (5). A contrasting black eye stripe and a characteristic white facial stripe run from the beak to the back of the neck (2) (3) (4) (5) (6). The face and throat are black, with slight bluish or purple mottling around the sides of the head, and there is a bib-like patch of black, bordered narrowly with white, just below the throat (2) (3) (4) (5).
The blue-headed quail-dove has a pinkish-purple breast, which becomes olive-brown tinged with purple on the sides and the back of the neck. The rest of the plumage is generally buff-brown to dark brown, except for the darker primaries and the slate-grey outer tail feathers (2) (3). The legs and feet are reddish (2) (3), with distinct hexagonal scales down the front (4) (5) (6). The short, rather slender bill (6) is bright red at the base, becoming blue at the tip (2) (3).
Both the male and female blue-headed quail-doves are similar in appearance, but the juvenile is usually duller, with rufous edges to the feathers (2). Juvenile blue-headed quail-doves also lack the black eye stripe of the adults (4).
The blue-headed quail-dove has a distinctive, two phrase call, ‘uuu-up, uuu-up’, with the last note of each phrase rising and ending abruptly (3) (5).
- Length: 29 - 34 cm (2)
- c. 242 g (2)