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    Saguaro

    National Park Arizona

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  • Rincon Mountain District Backcountry Closures Due to Deer Head Fire

    For the safety of hikers and campers, some trail and campground closures have been enacted. All off-trail areas within Saguaro National Park east of Douglas Spring Trail and Manning Camp Trails are also closed. More »

White-winged Dove

white-winged dove

White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica)

During spring in the Sonoran Desert, the air is filled with the mating call of the white-winged dove. Their hoots and coos are so abundant that they sometimes drown out the sounds of other birds.

However noisy the white-winged dove might be, they play a very important role in the life cycle of the saguaro cactus. When saguaros flower, white-winged doves move from flower to flower, sipping nectar and pollinating the plant. Once the flowers become fruit, the doves have a new food source. The sweet fruit is filled with thousands of tiny seeds, which pass unharmed through the digestive system of the dove. If seeds are passed while the dove is perched on a tree or bush, that tree or bush might become a nurse plant to the growing saguaro. Such a plant protects the young saguaro from extreme weather and animals and greatly increases its chances of survival.

Size: 11.5 in. Wingspan: 19 in.

Diet: Seeds and fruit

Did You Know?

Saguaro Blossoms

The saguaro blossom is the state flower of Arizona. In early summer, the Tohono O’odham people come to Saguaro National Park to harvest the saguaro fruit.