The Luzon Bleeding-heart Gallicolumba luzonica is one of a number of species of ground dove in the genus Gallicolumba that are called “bleeding-hearts”.
They get this name from a splash of vivid red color at the centre of their white breasts. The Luzon Bleeding-heart is the species in which this feature is most pronounced, and on first sight it is hard to believe that the bird has not recently been wounded.
On its upper surfaces, the Luzon Bleeding-heart is slate grey in color, but because it is iridescent, it can appear to be purple, royal blue, or bottle-green, and the apparent color varies with lighting conditions. The belly and under wing areas are buff or chestnut.
As in most pigeons, there is little sexual dimorphism (visual physical differences between the sexes) ; males tend to be larger and have a more pronounced red patch, and some authorities claim that the female has a purplish iris, though others dispute this. Body shape is typical of the genus, with a round body, a short tail and long legs.
Distribution / Range
The species is endemic to the central and southern parts of the large island of Luzon, and the neighbouring small Polillo Islands, in the Philippines. It lives in primary or secondary forest, and can be found at altitudes varying from sea level up to 1400 metres.
They eat seeds, berries and grubs. They are shy and secretive, and very quiet, and rarely leave the ground except when nesting. Unlike the other bleeding-hearts, they usually lay two eggs in each clutch.
Although not formally regarded as endangered, the Luzon Bleeding-heart is under some threat, since it is commonly trapped. Local people use it for meat, but its striking appearance means that there is also a market for it in the pet trade. A captive breeding project has been started in Australia.
The Luzon Bleeding-heart was featured on a Philippine 2-peso postage stamp in 1994.