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Mourning Dove - BirdForum Opus

Adult male
Photo © by bailiff1
Bessemer, Alabama, USA, 18 August 2013
Zenaida macroura


Photo © by Deerbird
Kentucky, USA,23 January 2016

23-34 cm (9.1-13.4 in)

  • Light brown overall
  • Black mark on neck/cheek
  • Black spots on coverts
  • Dark primaries
  • Long tail
    • Inner feathers longest
    • Outer feathers tipped white

Males have a gray crown and rosy pink iridescence on their neck. Juveniles have a scaly appearance.
Wings whistle during take-off.

Similar Species

White-winged Dove has white wing patch. Eurasian Collared Dove has dark half-collar on nape. Both lack dark spots on wing coverts.


Abundant and widespread across the USA and southern Canada from southern Alaska and British Columbia to Nova Scotia and south to Central America. A partial migrant with many birds in the north of the range moving south in August-September and returning north in April-May.

Has been recorded as a vagrant in Greenland. Extremely rare in the Western Palearctic, recorded twice in the British Isles, on the Isle of Man in October 1989 and in the Outer Hebrides in November 1999. Also, one in Iceland in October 1995 and one in Sweden in June 2001.

An introduced population is present in Hawaii.


Open woodlands and cultivation, farmyards and gardens in towns.


Photo © by HelenB
Richmond, Texas, USA, J14 June 2002


There are 5 subspecies[1]:

  • Z. m. macroura Mourning Dove (Caribbean):

Carolinensis Group (Mainland)

  • Z. m. marginella':
  • Z. m. carolinensis:
  • Z. m. clarionensis:
  • Isla Clarión (Revillagigedo Islands off western Mexico)
  • Z. m. turturilla:



Diet consists almost entirely of seeds and other plant matter. They are a common visitor to backyard bird feeders.


Flimsy sticks nest is placed on ground or in bushes, or trees when available. Clutch is one to three, but usually 2 white eggs. Multi-brooded in most areas and nests often reused.


A low series of coos ooo-a-ooo oooo ooo ooo


Birds from more northern latitudes winter as far south as Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. However birds breeding in central and southern North America are resident.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Otis, D. L., J. H. Schulz, D. Miller, R. E. Mirarchi, and T. S. Baskett (2020). Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.moudov.01
  3. Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Boesman, P. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/54205 on 18 April 2020).

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.