Mourning Dove

Zenaida macroura

Don DesJardin

Mourning Doves are pigeon-like birds that grow up to 12 inches long. Their coloring is tannish-gray with black spots on their wings. They have long, pointed tails with a white tip.

Mourning Doves live in fields, parks, open woods, and roadsides. They are one of our most common birds.

People hear Mourning Doves almost every day. Their low mournful song is easy to recognize.

Mourning Doves can be found in our area year-round.

Huntley Meadows Park

Wind Cave National Park

Mourning Doves build their nests in shrubs, trees, or vines. Sometimes they build them on the ground.

Materials they use include twigs, sticks, grass, weeds, and rootlets. Sometimes, instead of making their own nest, a pair of doves will use an old nest of a catbird, robin, grackle, or other bird.

The female dove lays two white eggs. They hatch in about two weeks. Baby Mourning Doves leave the nest after another two weeks. Parent doves feed their young "pigeon's milk" for the first few days of their lives. Pigeon's milk is regurgitated (thrown up) food from the parent.

Copyright, Ron Austing

Mourning Doves eat mostly seeds from grasses and weeds. They also eat some fruits, pine seeds, acorns, snails, and insects.

While Mourning Doves usually pick evergreen trees to nest in, other trees they will roost in may include: Red Maple, Sugar Maple, Black Cherry, American Elm, Black Locust, Yellow Poplar, American Beech, oaks, American Sycamore, Sweetgum, and Sassafras.

Predators of Mourning Doves include Raccoon, hawks, owls, Blue Jay, squirrels, snakes, cats, dogs, and humans.

Mourning Doves help plants spread by eating fruits or seeds and then pooping them out in new locations.

Lucy Niedbala

 

Additional Media

Description
Type
Credit
Mourning Dove Song
Sound
William R. Fish, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Mourning Doves on Ground
Video
Gregory Gough
Mourning Doves Perched
Video
Phil Heine
Download Quicktime if you are unable to play video.

Relationships in Nature:

PREY/FOOD
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Switchgrass

Raccoon

Eastern White Pine

Smooth Crabgrass D

Smooth Crabgrass

Red-tailed Hawk

Virginia Pine

Common Ragweed D

Common Ragweed

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Loblolly Pine

Switchgrass D

Lamb's Quarters

Blue Jay

Eastern Redcedar

Lamb's Quarters D

Pokeweed

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Witch Hazel

Pokeweed D

Bird-foot Violet

Eastern Chipmunk

Sassafras

Eastern White Pine D

Eastern White Pine

Black Rat Snake

Spicebush

English Plantain D

Virginia Pine

Barred Owl

Smooth Sumac

Virginia Pine D

Loblolly Pine

Great Horned Owl

Highbush Blueberry

Loblolly Pine D

Common Black Ground Beetle

Human

Greenbrier

Highbush Blueberry D

Leopard Slug

Eastern Hognose Snake

Wild Grape

Smooth Sumac D

Differential Grasshopper

Black Oak

Field Cricket

Black Willow

English Plantain

Common Ragweed

Eastern Redcedar

Yellow Poplar

Smooth Sumac

Sweetgum

Highbush Blueberry

Common Reed

Kentucky Bluegrass

Smooth Crabgrass

Black Locust

Virginia Creeper

Relationship to Humans:

Mourning Doves are one of the most popular game bird with hunters in the United States. Many people attract them to their yards with birdfeeders, and some people even raise them as pets. Mourning Doves can be a nuisance when they spread seeds of weeds.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Chordate
CLASS
Bird
ORDER
Columbiformes
FAMILY
Columbidae
GENUS
Zenaida
SPECIES
Zenaida macroura

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