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Merlin Bird ID

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    Mourning Dove

    ID Info
    Silhouette DovesDoves

    Mourning Dove

    Zenaida macroura
    • ORDER: Columbiformes
    • FAMILY: Columbidae
    Basic Description

    A graceful, slender-tailed, small-headed dove that’s common across the continent. Mourning Doves perch on telephone wires and forage for seeds on the ground; their flight is fast and bullet straight. Their soft, drawn-out calls sound like laments. When taking off, their wings make a sharp whistling or whinnying. Mourning Doves are the most frequently hunted species in North America.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for Mourning DoveRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    Look for Mourning Doves on telephone wires and similar perches throughout your neighborhood, or keep an eye on patches of bare ground, where the birds gather to stock up on seeds and grit.

    Other Names
    • Huilota Común (Spanish)
    • Tourterelle triste (French)

    Backyard Tips

    Scatter seeds, particularly millet, on the ground or on platform feeders. Plant dense shrubs or evergreen trees in your yard to provide nesting sites. Keep your cats inside - birds that spend much of their time on the ground are particularly vulnerable to prowling cats. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

    Consider putting up a nesting cone to attract a breeding pair. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Find out more about nest boxes and other ways to provide nesting structures on our Attract Birds pages. You'll find plans for building a nest box of the appropriate size on our All About Birdhouses site.

    • Cool Facts