Mourning Dove

Zenaida macroura




Pigeons and Doves (Columbidae)

Code 4


Code 6



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Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

Nest is 6 to 50 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Flimsy platform of twigs.


Some migrate



Mourning Dove: Medium-sized dove with gray-brown upperparts and pink-brown underparts. Eyes are dark with a small black spot beneath. Bill is dark. Wings are gray-brown with black spots and dark primaries. Tail is long and pointed with black-edged white tips on outer feathers. Male has a pale blue tinted crown and a pink washed chest, shows some iridescence on neck. Female is paler with less gray on head and less iridescence on neck. Juvenile resembles female and has heavy spotting and scaled effect on wings.

Range and Habitat

Mourning Dove: Breeds from southeastern Alaska, southern Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick southward to Mexico, Panama, and the West Indies. Spends winters from the northern U.S. through southern Mexico. Its preferred habitats include open fields, parks, and lawns with many trees and shrubs.

Breeding and Nesting

Mourning Dove: These doves are monogamous and form strong pair bonds. The female dove builds the nest with the male flying about, gathering material and bringing it to her. Two white eggs are laid in a flimsy assembly of pine needles, twigs and grass stems, usually built in a low bush or tree or on the ground. Eggs are incubated for 14 days by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Mourning Dove: Their diet consists mostly of seeds from cultivated or wild plants, with good amounts of animal matter and leafy vegetation incidentally ingested. They will also eat waste grain, fruits and insects. They forage almost entirely on the ground, or sometimes in trees and shrubs, and avoid rank tall vegetation. They drink by suction, without the need to lift and tilt their head.

Readily Eats

Cracked Corn, Sunflower Seed, Nuts, Milo, Thistle


Mourning Dove: Emits a low, mournful "coo-ah, coo, coo, coo."

Similar Species

Mourning Dove: Eurasian-collared Dove has a long, rounded neck and a black collar. White-winged Dove has large white wing patches and shorter, squared tail.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Also called the breast area, it is the frontal area on the body containing the breastplate and major flight muscles.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X