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Mourning Dove

Tourterelle triste

Zenaida macroura

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Species; The Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura), is a commonly seen dove, found on over two thirds of North America Continent. Identified by it long pointy tail and wings, and what appears to be a small head. This dove is a regular visitor to the backyard feeders, seen feeding, both on the ground under bird feeders, or on platform feeders, where it has proper footing. Prefers open country, not a forest bird. Is considered a gamebird in many US states. Harvested in the high millions every year, population does not seem threatened. Protected in other states and in Canada, preserved as a song bird.

Distinctions; Male and females are similar, with little apparent difference. Male has iridescent blue and pink showing on nape of neck, iridescent pink on side of neck, clear black line, located at the base of lower cheeks, blue orbital eye ring, individual black markings on coverts and tertials, white tips on out tail feathers, darker primaries and secondaries, when seen in flight, has a light grey, buffy under body, darker grayish brown upper body, red feet. Female is similar to male, iridescent not as evidence. Juvenile appears scaly, darker tone.

Voice; Males calls out through the seasons, vocal sound like oowoo-woo-woo.

Nesting; Two to three white eggs, multiple broods per year, higher reproduction in southern regions. Nest built in shrubs, hedges and trees. Built from available materials, twigs and grasses.

Birds of North America

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

  • Summer
  • Year Around
  • Winter

Distribution; Common summer breeders from Nova Scotia, west, through all the southern regions of the Canadian provinces to British Columbia. Year around breeder through most of the US states, except an area of the northern mid-west, from California to Florida, with an apparent likness 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.

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.

eBird - TheCornellLab of OrnithologyeBird 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.

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