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Plateau-dove: population of 31 individuals across Brazil

by Luana Luizy, Communication Advisor, International Education Institute of Brazil

The plateau dove feeds on small grains and seeds. Photo: Marco Silva / Save Brasil Collection

Considered one of the rarest birds in the world, the plateau dove it receives support from partners to be reintroduced into nature, its occurrence being restricted to the municipality of Botumirim, in the north of MG. The population of this bird is in a critical situation, with a very low number of individuals: today, there are only 31.

Associated with rocky environments, with white sand and plenty of water, it feeds on small grains and seeds. Today the main threat to their survival they are the fires provoked to open pasture area for the creation of cattle in the Cerrado.

“This bird likes environments rich in water; that's why our actions in Botumirim are focused on protecting Veredas, because protecting this vegetation is protecting the plateau doves ”says Albert Gallon de Aguiar, from Association for the Conservation of Brazilian Birds, Save Brasil.

The management and execution actions of the project developed by Save Brasil resulted in the creation of the Botumirim State Park. In addition, awareness-raising activities with the city hall and schools in the city have brought the population closer to the project, a fact that has resulted in the flow of greater turism of bird lovers in the region, which generated income for the population.

The plateau dove (Columbina cyanopis) is one of the rarest birds in the world, critically endangered (CR). Photo: Ciro Albano / Save Brasil Collection

“People started to understand that the park represents a source of income for the municipality, which is quite poor, has a low HDI index. There, we have a diversity of species from the Cerrado: 17 mammals, such as maned wolf, brown jaguar, giant anteater, animals that are returning to the reserve, because now there is more surveillance by the State in the fight against hunting. So, the dove created a park protection movement"says Albert.

Support from CEPF and IEB

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF, acronym in English) and the IEB were great supporters of the project “Saving the plateau dove (Columbina cyanopis) and its unique habitat in the Cerrado ”, which contributed to disseminate information about birds and biodiversity to the local population, establishing a network of actors committed to environmental conservation in the region. “The support allowed us to stay in the field. It helped in the communication part, it was a great partner for us to be able to establish the bases, to be able to walk. CEPF and IEB allowed us to have governance ”, comments Albert.


Despite the highland roller being in a critical situation, Save Brasil's actions collaborated to increase its population, which at the beginning was 11 individuals. In this way, its growth for 31 birds represents a victory.

As a next step, we will begin the management of the population, with the removal of some eggs from nature to create in captivity, have a safe population, and then reintroduce them in natural regions. This way, we can prevent, for example, that a fire burns the population at once ”, explains the expert.


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The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of the French Development Agency, Conservation International, the European Union, Global Environmental Management, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. A key goal is to ensure that civil society is involved in biodiversity conservation.