11-13" (28-33 cm). Brown above with somewhat darker tail and wings and pale buffy 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.
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 flocks; greatest numbers migrate south after summering and breeding.
Protracted breeding season. Both sexes (male diurnally) incubate 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 broods/yr. Breeding population trends in Idaho have declined from 1966-1987, as they have throughout the western U.S.
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.