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Mourning Dove

Zenaida macroura


A graceful, slender-tailed, small-headed dove that’s common across the continent. Their soft, drawn-out calls sound like laments. When taking off, their wings make a sharp whistling or whinnying. Mourning Doves often match their open-country surroundings. They’re delicate brown to buffy-tan overall, with black spots on the wings and black-bordered white tips to the tail feathers. Foods taken in preference to others include pine nuts, sweetgum seeds, and the seeds of pokeberry, amaranth, canary grass, corn, sesame, and wheat. When their favorite foods are absent, Mourning Doves will eat the seeds of other plants, including buckwheat, rye, goosegrass and smartweed.


You can see Mourning Doves nearly anywhere except the deep woods. Look for them in fields,patches of bare ground,on overhead perches like telephone wires, or feeding on bird seed on the ground. Mobile foraging flocks of Mourning Doves feed primarily on the ground, consuming waste grain—especially wheat and buckwheat—and weed seeds.


Mourning Doves feed their nestlings crop milk or "pigeon milk," which is secreted by the crop lining. The Mourning Dove is considered to be the most closely related species to the Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), which was hunted to extinction in the early 1900s. For this reason, the possibility of using Mourning Doves for cloning the Passenger Pigeon has been discussed.

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keithp2012 4 years ago

The birds are cute, and I love how they dun themselves and the coo noise they do as a call

keithp2012 5 years ago

Added new photos of a pair that was nice enough to let me get close and take a photo of them!

keithp2012 7 years ago

Mourning Dove

New York, USA

Lat: 40.70, Long: -73.35

Spotted on Sep 13, 2010
Submitted on Sep 14, 2010

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