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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

White-winged Dove

Zenaida asiatica ORDER: COLUMBIFORMES FAMILY: COLUMBIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Originally a bird of desert thickets, the White-winged Dove has become a common sight in cities and towns across the southern U.S. When perched, this bird’s unspotted brown upperparts and neat white crescents along the wing distinguish it from the ubiquitous Mourning Dove. In flight, those subdued crescents become flashing white stripes worthy of the bird’s common name. Take a closer look and you’ll see a remarkably colorful face, with bright-orange eyes and blue “eye shadow.”

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Keys to identification Help

Doves
Doves
Typical Voice
  • Size & Shape

    White-winged Doves are plump, square-tailed doves with relatively long, thin bills and small heads.

  • Color Pattern

    White-winged Doves are brown overall, with a dark line on the cheek. A white stripe at the edge of the folded wing becomes, as the bird takes flight, a bright flash in the middle of a dark wing. The tail is tipped in white and set off with black stripes from the gray underside. Their faces are ornately marked with a black streak on the cheek, and blue skin around the red eyes.

  • Behavior

    White-winged Doves forage on waste grain and seeds on the ground, or take to trees to eat berries. In the Sonoran Desert, they eat many saguaro cactus fruits. They often gather in huge flocks for trips between roosting and foraging areas, as well as during migration. Their long, hooting “whoo-OOO-oo, ooo-oo” calls are an increasingly common sound in the southern U.S.

  • Habitat

    Look for White-winged Doves in desert habitat in the Southwest and in cities and suburbs of Texas and the coastal Southeast. They often visit backyards, especially those with birdbaths and feeders. Individuals wander widely and irregularly across the continent after the breeding season ends.

Range Map Help

White-winged Dove Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • Adult

    White-winged Dove

    Adult
    • Large, stocky dove
    • Bold white stripe along edge of wing
    • Long, slender bill
    • Square-tipped tail
    • © Ganesh Jayaraman, Tucson, Arizona, July 2010
  • Adult

    White-winged Dove

    Adult
    • Stocky dove with bold white stripe on edge of folded wing
    • Dark stripe below cheek
    • Bright blue skin around eye
    • Relatively small head
    • © Glyn Lowe, Corpus Christi, Texas, October 2011
  • Adult

    White-winged Dove

    Adult
    • Stocky, small-headed dove
    • Short, square-tipped tail
    • Bright white stripe along edge of folded wing
    • © Joan Gellatly, Tucson, Arizona, May 2010
  • Adult

    White-winged Dove

    Adult
    • Stocky, short-tailed dove
    • Dark mark below cheek
    • Long, slender bill
    • White stripe on wing sometimes obscured by covert feathers
    • © Lew Ulrey, St. David, Arizona, March 2011
  • Adult

    White-winged Dove

    Adult
    • Plump, stocky dove with short, square-tipped tail
    • Small-headed
    • Bright white stripe along edge of folded wing
    • Dark stripe below cheek
    • © Ned Harris, Sabino Canyon, Tucson, Arizona, May 2010

Similar Species

Similar Species

Mourning Doves are thinner-bodied than White-winged Doves with long, tapering tails and gray-brown wings. Eurasian Collared-Doves are larger and paler overall, with a black collar across the back of the neck not the side of the neck. Eurasian Collared-Doves also have larger white patches in the tail and less contrast in the tail (with no black) than White-winged Doves. The White-tipped Dove of southern Texas lacks bold white stripes in the wing and has no dark bar on the neck. The much larger Rock Pigeon tends to be much grayer, and although its plumage is variable it usually does not show bold, isolated crescents across the wing as White-winged Doves do.

Backyard Tips

White-winged Doves often eat at elevated bird feeders. They’re fond of seeds, including sunflower, milo, corn, safflower, and they may also eat berries from shrubs. White-winged Doves sometimes fly into windows when startled, so it’s important to make sure your windows are bird-safe.

Find This Bird

Look for White-winged Doves near urban areas, including in cities, in the southern U.S. They forage on the ground in small groups, perch on bird feeders, or nest in big shade trees. They’re a delicate tan when perched, but in flight they become quite striking, with long white wing stripes setting off dark outer wings. In the forests and cactus deserts of the Southwest, they’re often found near water in the morning and afternoon.