Zenaida macroura
(Mourning Dove)

Order: Columbiformes
Order Description: Pigeons, Doves
Family: Columbidae
Family Description: Pigeons and Doves

Physical Description:
11-13" (28-33 cm). Brown above with somewhat darker tail and wings and pale buffyClick word for definition below. Long, pointed tail with large white spots on outside edges and dark spots along inside edge. Nape and sides of neck have a purple sheen; black spot on side of head below ear patch; bill dark; light blue eye-ring.

Similar Species- White-winged Dove, Inca Dove, Band-tailed Pigeon, Ringed Turtle-Dove, Spotted Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove

A hollow, mournful cooo, cooo, coo. First one or two notes often not heard.

Breeds from southern Canada and possibly southeastern Alaska, south to Panama. Winters in breeding range, except for northernmost populations, which migrate farther south to winter.

Found in open woodlands, forest edges, cultivated lands with scattered trees and bushes, parks and suburban areas, arid and desert country (generally near water), and second growth. Occupies wide variety of habitats from northern to southern Idaho, but prefers lower elevations and open regions.

Feeds on wide variety of wild seeds, as well as waste grain (wheat, corn, rye, oats, etc.). Also eats some insects, but about 98% of diet is seeds.

Usually forages on ground. May fly long distances in search of water; Idaho study found doves in desert moved an average of 3.7 km from feeding and loafing sites to watering sites. Individuals nest in trees, on ground, or in nests of other species. In Idaho, species is highly migratory, nesting throughout state, but wintering in small, localized flocksClick word for definition; greatest numbers migrate south after summering and breeding.

Protracted breeding season. Both sexes (male diurnally) incubateClick word for definition usually 2 eggs for 13-15 days. Young are fed by at least 1 parent for 27 days (mainly by male after 16 days). Pair forms life-long bond, and may raise 2-5 broodsClick word for definition/yr. Breeding population trends in Idaho have declined from 1966-1987, as they have throughout the western U.S.

Element Code: ABNPB04040
Status: Game species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5,NTMB
National Rank: N5

Important State References:
Reeves, H.M., R.E. Tomlinson, and J.C. Bartonek. 1993. Population characteristics and trends in the western management unit. Pp. 341-376 in T.S. Basket et al., eds. Ecology and management of the mourning dove. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, PA.

Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.