Mourning Dove ( Dove Bird )

Apr 8 • Birds, Medium Pet Birds • 6877 Views • 6 Comments on Mourning Dove ( Dove Bird )


Mourning Doves or Game Dove are birds that are quite similar to pigeons. The Mourning Dove ( Scientific Name is Zenaida macroura) is a member of the Dove family ( that is, Columbidae ). This bird is also called as either Turtle Dove or American Mourning Dove or sometimes Rain Dove. It was formerly known as Carolina Pigeon or also Carolina Turtledove. It is amongst the most abundant and widespread birds of North America. It is also a leading game bird. In the U.S. more than 20 million birds  ( up to 70 million in some years )  shot annually, for sport or for meat.

People can hear the Mourning Doves almost every day. Their low voice mournful song is very easy to recognize due to which the bird is known as Mourning Dove.


The mourning doves have a thin and delicate-looking bill. They have a neat head and a long graduated tail which is bordered with large white colour spots. The colors of the female are dull as compared to gray-brown adult males.

Adult males can be easily distinguished by the purple-pink feathers on the neck and light pink colour on the breast. The upper part of the throat is having white shades. The legs and foot are dull red coloured or purplish red.

Wingspread : 17 to 19 inches

Length : 11 to 13 inches long

Tail : 5 to 7 inches

Weight :  4.5 to 6 ounces.



They have some qualities and behaviours , like other columbids. The Mourning Dove Bird usually  drink  by suction, without lifting its head or without tilting. They often gather at drinking spots while dawn and dusk takes place.

Mourning doves takes sun bath or rain bath by lying on the ground surface or on a flat tree limb by leaning over and stretching a wing  and keeping this posture for twenty minutes. Dustbathing  is common as well in Mourning Doves.

Mourning Doves fly very fast with powerful wingbeats. It sometimes make sudden ascents, dodges, and descents  with their pointed tails stretch behind them. The mourning dove’s flight is very swift and darting. The wings produce a whistling sound. The mourning dove has flight speed of 30-55 mph.

Since they are named for their distinctive voice, the mourning doves have three basic calls:-

1)      The “advertising coo”  has a very clear but quite sad tone.

2)      The “display coo”  is the somewhat same except with higher intensity.

3)      The “nest coo”  is the also same as the advertising call but it’s louder.


dove food

Almost ninety-nine percents of the mourning dove’s diet is dependent on grains and weed seeds. The Preferable weed seeds contains foxtails, pigweed, wild sunflower, and ragweed. Preferred grains include sorghum, corn and millet. Insects make up a very little proportion of the dove’s diet. Doves usually move around an average of 2 to 8 miles for searching of food.


All Dove Bird mainly  build their nests in trees, shrubs, or vines but sometimes they prefer to build them on the ground.


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

The female doves  lay two white colour eggs. They basically hatch in around two weeks. The baby Mourning Doves leave their nests  after two weeks from the day they hatch. Parent doves feed their young ones with “pigeon’s milk” for a few days. Pigeon’s milk is the food supplied or thrown up by the parent.



A wide number of  known diseases and parasites usually affect mourning doves. Parasites like intestinal par­asites (flukes, nematodes, tapeworms), ectopar­asites (lice, mites), and blood parasites,  none of which are related to mortality. Haemoproteus co­lumbae is a common blood para­site. Trichomonas gallinae is amongst the  most dangerous pathogens. They exist very peace­fully in the host but can also cause cheesy and yellow­ish growth within the mouth and esophagus and making it difficult for the mourning doves to eat and even­tually leads to death by starvation. Avian pox is a kind of virus that causes lesions on the skin and mu­cous membranes of  mouth and upper respira­tory part. These lesions can also make it very difficult for the eye sight of mourning dove and in eating and can lead to death by starvation.

MORTALITY ( Life Span) :

Naturally the mortality rate in mourning doves is high. Approx six out of  ten birds don’t survive for one year to the next. Research shows that mourning dove’s  mortality is caused by a variety of factors including hunting, predators, accidents,  disease, and weather extremes. Around 55 to 75 percents of juveniles can  not survive  for an year. Adult mortality is approx 55 percent  (annually).


Usually these pets cost around 12-20 $ in most of the pet-stores.

But you need to do the proper research before purchasing a pet of this type so that a good, healthy and cost effective pet can be brought to your home.


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