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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Columbiformes
Family: Columbidae
Genus: Zenaida
Species: Z. Macroura


The Mourning Dove is usually 11 to 13 inches long, and the wingspan is about 17-19 inches.
They can weigh from 4.5 to 6 pounds. They have a small black spot on their face, to distinguish
it from the now extinct Passenger Pigeon. It is a tannish-beige color, with black markings on
the wings and bodies. Males have a bluish nape and crown, whereas females have a crown and
nape with a greyish brown color.


It enjoys semi-open areas, going to places such as urban areas, farms, prairies, lightly wooded areas, etc. and it avoids swamps and heavily wooded areas. It mostly nests in trees near cities
and near farmsteads.

Predators and Prey

Mourning doves eat mostly seeds, which make up 99% of their diet. They usually swallow grit, dirt, and sand as well, to help with digestion. It usually will try for canola, corn, millet, safflower,
and sunflower seeds. It will occasionally eat small insects.

Native or Invasive

Not sure whether invasive or native. What is known is that the mourning dove has a range of almost 6.8 million square miles, and is located in the Greater Antilles, most of Mexico, the U.S,
and southern Canada.

Form vs. Function

Their powerful leg muscles allow them to launch quickly. It’s wing has a pointed Falcon-like appearance. This design allows it to fly up to 55 mph. The Mourning Dove has a pointed tail, giving it a distinctive silhouette. The central tail feathers are long, and the side tail feathers are white.

Interesting Facts

Seeds that the doves swallow are stored in an enlargement of the esophagus called the crop.
The record for seeds stored in a single crop is 17,200 bluegrass seeds. They occasionally swallow fine gravel or sand, (any kind of grit) to help with digestion. The dove eats about 12 to 20 percent of their body weight each day. Mourning doves can survive in the desert, one reason being that they can drink brackish spring water which has almost half the salt of seawater without getting dehydrated like humans do.


1.CWBO. "Mourning Dove." Mourning Dove. Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc., 1999. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. <http://www.wbu.com/chipperwoods/photos/mdove.htm>.
2. "Mourning Dove." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Nov. 2012. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mourning_Dove>.
3."All About Birds." Mourning Dove, Life History,. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, 2008. Web. 25 Nov. 2012. <http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Mourning_Dove/lifehistory>.
4. Jkontrad. "Mourning Dove Coo." YouTube. YouTube, 17 Apr. 2010. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oNljd7R1f8>.
5. "Mourning Dove." - Description, Diet and Nesting. N.p., 2006. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. <http://www.a-home-for-wild-birds.com/mourning-dove.html>.