This species is an obligate frugivore and an extremely important component of south Florida ecosystem, dispersing seeds of many trees, shrubs, and vines. It is strongly associated with the plant species diversity of tropical hardwood hammocks and plays an important role in maintaining the diversity of the hammock ecosystem by eating the fleshy fruits and dispersing the seeds between hammocks. Seed dispersal between habitat patches leads to greater species diversity in the hammocks and provides for future supplies of fruit-bearing plants. Because different species fruit at different periods throughout the year, seed dispersal may ensure a more steady food supply throughout the year (Strong and Bancroft 1994).
Young and eggs are preyed upon by red-winged blackbirds (Blankinship 1977, Sprunt 1977, Bancroft and Bowman, unpubl. data), raccoons, red-tailed hawks, pearly-eyed thrashers, and crows).
White crowned pigeons are a known host for Trichomonas gallinae. One study showed that over 88% of captured wild birds were carriers of this parasite, but that white-crowned pigeons are probably resistant to trichomoniasis under natural conditions (Kocan and Sprunt 1971). Birds in Puerto Rico are often infected by warble fly (Philornia pici) larvae,which may kill young or retard their development (Wiley and Wiley 1979).