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Field Guide for all the Birds of North America

Mourning Dove

Tourterelle triste

Zenaida macroura

Information, images and range maps on over 1,000 birds of North America, including sub-species, vagrants, introduced birds and possibilities

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Species: The Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura), is a commonly seen dove and is found on over two thirds of the North American continent. It is identified by its long pointy tail and wings and what appears to be a small head. This dove is a regular visitor to the backyard feeders and is seen feeding both on the ground under bird feeders or on platform feeders, where it has proper footing. It prefers open country and is not a forest bird. It is considered a gamebird in many US states. Even though it is harvested in the high millions every year, its population does not seem threatened. It is protected in other states and in Canada, preserved as a song bird.

Distinctions: Males and females are similar, with little apparent difference. The male has iridescent blue and pink showing on nape of neck, iridescent pink on side of neck, clear black lines located at the base of lower cheeks, blue orbital eye ring, individual black markings on coverts and tertials, white tips on the out tail feathers, darker primaries and secondaries, when seen in flight it has a light grey, buffy underbody, darker grayish brown upper body and red feet. The female is similar to male, iridescence not as evident. The juvenile appears scaly and has darker tones.

Voice: Males call throughout the seasons, vocal sounds like oowoo-woo-woo.

Nesting: Two to three white eggs, multiple broods per year, higher reproduction in southern regions. Nests are built in shrubs, hedges and trees using available materials, twigs and grasses.

Birds of North America
  • Mourning Dove
  • Mourning Dove
  • Mourning Dove
  • Mourning Dove
  • Mourning Dove
  • Mourning Dove

Life, Habitat and Pictures of the Mourning Dove

B L W W W Family Latin Name
12" 30.5cm 18" 45.7cm 4.2oz 119.1g Columbidae Zenaida macroura

Mourning Dove Call

  1. Tap to hear Choice 1 Mourning Dove

  • Summer
  • Year Around
  • Winter
Mourning Dove, doves

Distribution: Common summer breeders from Nova Scotia, west through all the southern regions of the Canadian provinces to British Columbia. Year-round breeder through most of the US states, except an area of the northern mid-west, from California to Florida, with an apparent like to the warmer climates. Seen throughout the Mexican landscapes, does prefer an open country setting, and many of the Caribbean islands.

References to Other Bird Sites:

These are links to websites pertaining to the different birding institutions, societies and organizations here in North America. Some of these same sites are a great asset to seeking out knowledge on birds in other regions of the world. Each of these links offer the user different methods to identify birds, whether it be by regions, habitat, appearance or maybe colour. Knowledge on the possibilities of where and what birds might be present are included.

Hinterland Who's Who Welcome to the Web site for Hinterland Who's Who It all started in 1963, with black-and-white vignettes about the loon, the moose, the gannet and the beaver. For more than 50 years, Hinterland Who’s Who has proudly been bringing Canada’s iconic wildlife directly into Canadians’ homes. Re-launched in 2003, the new series serves to rebuild the connection thousands of viewers made with wildlife through the original series. Welcome to our new website! Have a look around, and learn how you can help ensure that the wildlife remains part of what it means to be Canadian.

Avibase - the world bird database This site provides the user with a complete list of bird species, broken down per country, or in the example of the US or Canada, per state and province. Here, bird species names are available in other languages, a great asset to be used as a translation of foreign bird names.

ABA - American Birding Association This site represents an organization that maintains official records of all birds species that have been proven to have been seen inside the perimeters of the North American Continent and the surrounding bodies of water. Regular revised versions are posted to keep the bird list current at all times. This is the list used by all serious birders over their lifetime. You may be aware of the movie called the "Big Year". It was with this list that all the competing birders used in an attempt to set a new record as to how many bird species that could be seen by an individual birder in one calendar year.

The description to follow is taken from the AOS Home Page.

AOS - The American Ornitholgy Society is an international society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of birds, enriching ornithology as a profession, and promoting a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds. As one of the world's oldest and largest ornithological societies, AOS produces scientific publications of the highest quality, hosts intellectually engaging and professionally vital meetings, serves ornithologists at every career stage, pursues a global perspective, and informs public policy on all issues important to ornithology and ornithological collections. AOS is distinguished by its tremendous collective expertise, including eminent scientists, conservation practitioners, early career innovators, and students.

ABC - American Bird Conservancy This is an organization started in Europe and is now formed in North America in the 1990's. It bases its goal on four approaches, Halt extinctions, Protect habitat, Eliminate threats and to Build capacity. One of their ways of achieving these goals, is by purchasing and leasing lands around already protected lands and creating larger safe zones for all its habitants.

eBird - TheCornellLab of Ornithology eBird is a must for any individual, who has an interest in birds. This site allows users to sign up and participate in recording birds seen on a daily basis as well as the location, for any bird species seen in the world. In addition, users can use the existing data to search out the location of bird species throughout the year. By using filters, information as to the movements can be determined. Photos can be added to identify individual birds. Migration pattern can be calculated using information by months or years as needed. Range maps can be verified, allowing the users to see where the presence of individual bird species are expected to be at certain times of the year.

NA - National Geographic The Society of National Geographic provides some of the best books available for those who have an interest in birds. The book called "The Complete Birds of North America", is a book recommended to be part of any birders library. This book covers all the native and vagrant species of birds seen on the North American Continent. It provides information on all the birds listed on the ABA bird list. This book goes into great details, describing the individual species and their races. That aside, their website provides wonderful information pertaining to many articles regarding nature.

NAC - National Audubon Society The National Audubon Society is the oldest organization in North America. It was initially formed for the preservation of egrets and herons as well as waders, who were being hunted and killed, so their feathers could be used in the clothing industry. Today, there are many chapters of the NAS all over the continent and all individual groups have a common goal, to educate the public. In doing so, creating awareness of the birds and their plights. They were the driving force in promoting the original international laws, protecting migratory birds. Today, their website has made information available on articles, images and sounds, relating to all the native birds seen in North America.

I hope you will take advantage of these suggested websites. I have used each of them, in one way or another, throughout the years in my quest to better identify and understand our fine feathered friends.

Classic Collection of North American Birds