© Don DeBold/Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.0)

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove
Zenaida macroura
Pigeon-like Birds | Family: Pigeons and Doves, Columbidae

An estimated 4% of the species' North American breeding range lies within the Boreal Forest.



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.


12" (30 cm). Soft, sandy buff with a long pointed tail bordered with white. Black spots on wings.


Low mournful (hence its name) coo-ah, coo, coo, coo.


2 white eggs in a loosely made nest of sticks and twigs placed in low bushes and tall trees, more rarely on the ground.


Open fields, parks, and lawns with many trees and shrubs.


Breeds from southeastern Alaska, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick southward to Mexico and Panama. Winters north to northern United States.