Comprehensive Guide to selected species of:
Birds of the Boreal Forest « back to Guide
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
Family: Pigeons and Doves, Columbidae
Audio: Martyn Stewart, © Naturesound.org
An estimated 4% of the species' North American breeding range lies within the Boreal Forest.
Description 12" (30 cm). Soft, sandy buff with a long pointed tail bordered with white. Black spots on wings.
Habitat Open fields, parks, and lawns with many trees and shrubs.
Nesting 2 white eggs in a loosely made nest of sticks and twigs placed in low bushes and tall trees, more rarely on the ground.
Voice Low mournful (hence its name) coo-ah, coo, coo, coo.
Range Breeds from southeastern Alaska, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick southward to Mexico and Panama. Winters north to northern United States.
Discussion This abundant bird has increased with the cutting of forests and burning off of grass. The Mourning Dove is common in rural areas in all parts of the United States, as well as city parks and, in winter, suburban feeders. In some states it is hunted as a game bird while in others it is protected as a songbird. Its species name, macroura, is Greek for "long-tailed." The young are fed regurgitated, partially digested food known as pigeon milk.