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Mourning Dove

Zenaida macroura

Family:

Columbidae, the dove and pigeon family.

Conservation Status:

Least Concern IUCN.

Distribution:

Temperate and tropical North America.

Habitat:

A variety of habitats, including open woodlands and forest edges near grasslands and fields, agricultural and suburban areas.

Factoid:

Adults will try to lure predators away from their nests by pretending to be injured.

Their plumage is brownish gray with a buff-colored belly and light gray wings. Their beaks are black, their legs are orange and their tails are long and tapered. Adults have black spots on their wings. Their eyes are black surrounded by a light blue ring.
They eat seeds, grain, fruits and insects, usually foraging on the ground but occasionally in trees and shrubs.

Their predators are falcons and hawks and, during nesting, corvids, grackles, housecats or snakes will take their eggs.

In warm climates they can produce up to six broods per year. Males lead females to potential nest sites. When she chooses one, he brings nest materials; and she builds a flimsy platform of twigs, which takes ten hours over three to four days. Nests are located in a tree or shrub, but may be on the ground, or on a building ledge. Two eggs are laid and incubated by both parents for about two weeks. Both parents produce “pigeon milk” in their crops to feed to their young. After two weeks the young leave the nest, but stay close by and are fed by the parents for another 1-2 weeks.

 

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