Luzon Bleeding-Heart

Luzon Bleeding-Heart

Bleeding heart dove, Bleeding heart pigeon, Bleeding-heart dove, Bleeding-heart pigeon, Blood-breasted pigeon, Luzon blood-breasted pigeon, Luzon puñalada

Gallicolumba luzonica
Population size
Life Span
15-25 yrs
184 g
30 cm
38 cm

The genus Gallicolumba has a number of species known as "bleeding-hearts", ground doves that get this name due to a splash of bright red in the middle of their white breast. Luzon bleeding-hearts are among these, their species is the one where the color is most vivid, making it look as though it has been wounded. Males and females look very similar, though females are duller overall, and their red breast patch is smaller and paler.


This bird is endemic to the island of Luzon and two other islands in northern Philippines. Here there are many populations that are isolated, and on the island of Polillo, a very small population was recently rediscovered, and on Catanduanes only one specimen has been found. This species lives in lowland forest and the majority of the time it feeds on the forest floor. These birds nest and roost in trees of low to medium height, shrubbery and vines.



Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Luzon bleeding-hearts are very secretive and shy casual foragers, turning over soil by flicking their bill as they walk along. To wash down its food, this bird drinks once a day or more. When it flies, this is usually to a nesting site with its mate or in a small flock to find water. This species usually roosts in shrubs and low trees at night. Highly territorial, males defend their area, first by making warning calls, then, if necessary, fighting to the death. If confronted by a bird of prey that is larger, the Luzon bleeding-heart makes a grunting, gasping or panting sound. It then flies a little way, lands and continues to escape by running. The Luzon bleeding-heart’s call is a single ‘coooooo’, rising slightly in pitch in the middle. Typically these birds are very secretive and nearly silent.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

These birds are omnivores. In the wild they primarily eat seeds, berries that have fallen, and a range of insects and worms. When in captivity, their food may include oilseeds, cheese and vegetables for extra nutrition for a breeding pair.

Mating Habits

mid-May, in captivity year-round
15-17 days
2-3 months
squab, chick
2 eggs

These birds are monogamous and maintain strong bonds, usually pairing for life. At the time of breeding, the male attracts a female with his courtship display. He chases the female displaying his inflated breast to show fully his vivid red marking or "heart". Once he has the female’s attention, he bows his head and lovingly coos to his intended mate. Mid-May is probably the time of nesting, when other subspecies in the same genus will nest on nearby islands of the Philippines. Breeding pairs in captivity can mate all year round. 2 creamy white eggs are laid and both parents incubate them for between 15 and 17 days. Although after 10 to 14 days young leave their nest, their parents feed them for as long as another month. When they are 2 to 3 months old the young start to develop their adult plumage and need to be separated from their parents, otherwise the parents will attack and will sometimes kill them. At 18 months, the young go through another molt, becoming reproductively mature.


Population threats

Luzon bleeding-hearts suffer from habitat fragmentation and loss, caused by the expansion of agriculture and deforestation for timber. This species is also vulnerable to hunting and also trapping for the trade in pets, as it popular as a cage bird.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources do not provide the Luzon bleeding-heart total population size. Currently this species is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.

Ecological niche

Through seed dispersal, these birds help ensure the success of their forest habitats.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The Luzon bleeding-heart, like all pigeons, drinks by sucking quickly and continuously, not lifting its head up to swallow, a unique ability among birds.
  • When foraging, these birds resemble chickens; and their scientific name: ‘Galli’ has the meaning chicken, while ‘columba’ means dove
  • As other pigeons and doves do, this species feeds its young on ‘crop milk’, a nutritious secretion from a pouch that is near the adult’s throat.
  • The male incubates the eggs for the day shift and at night the female takes her turn.
  • All the bleeding-heart pigeons tend to consume more animal food than do most other pigeons.


1. Luzon Bleeding-Heart Wikipedia article -
2. Luzon Bleeding-Heart on The IUCN Red List site -

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