Common Name: Mourning
photo Ivan Andrijevic
The Mourning Dove is a member of the order Columbiformes
which means pigeons. It is of the family Columbidae
which is comprised of doves and pigeons. It is in the
genus Zenaida which is made up of the Zenaida doves.
photo Ivan Andrijevic
The Mourning Dove is a medium-sized bird with a small
head and a long tail. Their bodies are a solid shade of
gray with black spots on the wings and near the eyes.
The Mourning Dove has a small black bill and the feet
and legs are red in color. Also, the tip of their
pointed tail is white, and is very noticeable as they
take flight. The males are larger and slightly brighter
than the females, having a bluish crown and a more rosy
The Mourning Dove can live in many different kinds of
habitats. However, it is mostly found near forest edges
and in more open areas of woodland. For this reason,
they are often found in suburban settlements where
humans have created large areas just like this.
The Mourning Dove mainly eats seeds and grains off of
the ground. It has also been seen eating different kinds
of insects and seeds off of plants.
Mourning Doves will migrate to warmer climates during
winter months, but overall are one of the most
widespread birds in North America. They are commonly
found in suburban and agricultural areas feeding on
Mourning Doves usually breed between February and
October, and may lay multiple broods in a single season.
Mourning Doves also form monogamous pairs. The male will
land on a perch and display, not claiming a territory,
but only looking for a mate. Once a pair is formed, they
will stay together a few days before building a nest. It
is then that the male will begin to defend his
territory. The female will almost always lay 2 white
eggs. Both the male and the female will incubate and
feed the young, moving from a milk substance to
regurgitated seeds until the hatchings are fledged at
about 15 days. The mother will do most of the feeding in
the beginning until about 15 days, and then the male
takes over until they are experienced enough to leave
the area of the nest. A young Mourning Dove is then
already ready to breed at the age of 85 days.
The Mourning Dove has a very distinctive “coo-coo” sound
that can be heard throughout summer months when the
males are looking for a mate.
Where to see them in WNY
Mourning Doves can be
found almost anywhere in North America. The best bet to
find them is to keep an eye out near roadsides in
agricultural and suburban areas. They stay near forest
edges overlooking open areas.