Mourning Dove

Fast Facts:

  • Common Name:
    Mourning Dove
  • Scientific Name:
    Zenaida macroura
  • Diet: Vegetarian
  • Size: 12 inches
  • Weight: 3-5.5 ounces


Mourning doves have slender bodies with tapered dails and are the most common doves in North America. They’re well disguised by their habitats due to their light tan/gray coloring. Their wings feature black spots, with black and white tips all the way down to their tail feathers.

Habitat and Migration

These birds are common from southern Canada, the entire United States, through Central America. Typically seen in more open spaces, mourning doves are rarely seen in wooded areas. They breed near the northern limit of their range and spend the colder months in the south (it’s believed many of these birds spend the winter in Mexico). However, mourning doves breeding in the warmer areas typically do not leave the area for winter.

Social Behavior

During each breeding season, mourning doves pair off and become monogamous. A bonding ritual often associated with mourning doves consists of couples preening one another around the neck. This progresses to “kissing,” where the birds grab each other’s beaks and bob their heads up and down in sync. During the incubation period, they spend the majority of their time together. Typically, they find new mates for the next breeding season.

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