Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

A Mourning Dove is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Mourning Doves. We have also put together a list of fun Mourning Dove t-shirts, Mourning Dove bird patches, bird houses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers and other fun bird watching items.

About Mourning Doves

Mourning doves perch on telephone wires and have a noticeable small head common in North America. It is also known as the rain dove or turtle dove, which is an error. It is a frequent target during the open season with more than 20 million being shot annually for sport and food. It has a strong breeding profile making it possible to sustain its high numbers.

Description and Identification

The size of Mourning Doves is rather slender and could be said as a medium. Their elliptical wings are broader and inherit a rounder head. Mourning Dove tails are fascinating as they are long and tapered. Their feet are typical bird-like, with three toes to the front and one at the back reversed. They have short legs with hues of red. Brown-black colors the beaks and are short. Their wings are spotted, with white dominating the outer layers in contrast to darker inners. The females are almost similar to the males but are browner in color and are comparatively smaller in size. The baby birds have a scaly texture and are darker in color.

Mourning Dove Color Pattern

Males and females have very little differences with their grey and brown colored bodies. They have a delicate brown tan with black spots on its wings and black-tailed tips.

Mourning Dove Size

They are slightly slender than the rock-pigeon in comparison. Having the following measurements.

  • Length 23 – 34 cm
  • Weight 96 – 170 g
  • Wingspan 45 cm approximately.
Mourning Dove Picture

Mourning Dove Behavior

Mourning doves fly fast using powerful wing beats and tails stretching wide behind them. They tend to push and peck ground litter to the side but do not scratch. The males are territorial having specific perches which they protect from other males. Pairs nibble at each other’s neck as a bonding ritual and progress to grabbing each other’s beaks and nodding their heads in unison.

What Mourning Dove Eat

Gathering around drinking spots, the Mourning Doves will quench their thirst by drinking in suctions. Most of their diets consist of seeds as they eat snails and insects very rarely. Their digestion process happens during the time of their flying. Mourning Doves also eat sand gravels that help them with digestion. They prefer the seeds of sunflower, safflower, corns, millets, and rapeseeds. They choose to eat what is readily visible to them rather than rummaging through the litter.Mourning Doves even like to eat sweetgum seeds, wheat, canary grass, sesame, amaranth, pinenuts, and pokeberry. But when these aren’t available, they won’t be hesitant to eat the seeds of rye, buckwheat, smartweed, and goosegrass.

Their main source of nutrition is seed based including cultivated seeds and even peanuts. They eat enough to fill their crop and eat sand and fine gravel to help in digestion.

Where Mourning Doves Live and Their Habitat

The Mourning Doves favour a wider field as their habitat. They choose open areas as well as semi-open ones in a wide range of regions like the urban areas, grasslands, lightly wooded areas, prairies, and farms. They do not like to stay near swamps and forests that are thick. They have adapted to the areas touched by humans and can be seen often nesting in trees which are in farmsteads and cities.

They occupy urban areas, farms, and grasslands but avoid swamps and thick forests.

Range and Migration

With a range of 11,000,000 km, it is safe to say that Mourning Doves have quite a large range. These birds mainly live in the Greater Antilles region as well as in most parts of Mexico. That is not all as it can also be seen in Southern Canada, the Atlantic archipelago of Bermuda, and in the Continental United States. The Canadian parts are a witness to their visits in the summers while Southern Central America sees them during the winters. They are also visible in Northern Canada, Alaska, and South America. They migrate towards the north during the spring from March to May. During the fall season, they migrate towards the south from September to November. The smaller ones fly first followed by the females and then by the males. They migrate in flocks in lower altitudes.


Mourning Doves choose to build their nest in the trees of deciduous forests and coniferous forests. But they are not only contained to that. They can also be found in shrubs, vines, flower pots or construction sites, buildings sometimes as well. But if no elevated place is available to them for nesting, they will make their nests on the ground. The male doves help in making the nests by gathering the materials required while the females weave them together. They make it from twigs, grass blades, and conifer needles. It’s not always that they build their own nests as sometimes, they even house in the unused nests of other birds or mammals.

Mourning Dove Lifecycle

Courting is distinguished by noisy flights by the male and a slow light circular guide with stretched wings and bowed head while approaching the female the male inflates its breast. The female lays her two eggs in another pairs nest and just like the rock-pigeon incubation is done by both parents and they feed the young ones crop milk. They are devoted parents rarely leaving the nest and once mature the young are flushed out of the nest by the parent displaying a broken wing.


Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes

At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.

  • Kids Bird Watching Monthly Subscription

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  • Kids Bird Watching Starter Pack Subscription

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Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Mourning Doves

The most common types of bird watching binoculars for viewing Mourning Doves are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.

  • Birding Binoculars

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  • Kids Binocular 8x21

    Kids Binoculars

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Mourning Dove T-shirts

If you love the Mourning Dove you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.

Mourning Dove Iron On Patches

Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron on patches. Our bird watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen an identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.

The Mourning Dove is a great iron on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.

  • Bird Banner with iron on patches

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Mourning Dove Stickers

Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Mourning Dove. We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month. 

Bird Feeders For Mourning Dove

There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.

Best Bird House for Mourning Doves

There are many types of bird houses. Building a bird house is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 bird houses have become our favorites. Getting a bird house for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these bird houses but they have been worth the higher price and look great. 

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