The Pale-vented Pigeon is relatively large sized, only falling shart to the Scaled and Band-tailed Pigeons. Unlike the Band-tailed, which is found in the higher elevations of Costa Rica, it inhabits the lowlands on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, along the northern region up to the border with Nicaragua, a range that is almost entirely shared with the Scaled Pigeon. In terms of appearance, it resembles a Red-billed Pigeon, but with a gray head, black bill and white belly and vent; also the wing has more red on the shoulder region than a Red-billed Pigeon. Like the other mentioned species, they are mostly arboreal, although when living within human settlements they can be found perched on man-made structures or walking in the ground as they grab food leftovers.
The Band-tailed Pigeon has an overall dull coloration, with gray upperparts and purplish underparts and head. A white band on the nape, iridescent green patch on the back of the neck, red eye ring and yellow bill distinguish it from any other pigeon or dove in Costa Rica. They inhabit the highlands, sharing habitat mostly with the Ruddy Pigeon, but the latter has an entirely different body color, hence they should not be easily confused.
The Scaled Pigeon is a beautiful bird, unusually looking when compared when other species. Most pigeons are rather uniform in color, however this species has a attention-grabbing scale pattern on the belly and throat, based on brown and white coloration. I have seen this species three times now. The first time, I was just walking by Fincas Bambuzal, in Rio Frio, when one individual appeared in the bamboo. The second time, I spotted a bird against harsh light in Boca Tapada; it looked like a silhouette, but after inspecting the picture, it revealed the colors of this species. The last time I could see it on Christmas day in Buenos Aires, perched on small branch on my grandfather’s backyard.