Pigeons and Doves

Pigeons and Doves which make up the Columbidae family are large-bodied birds with short necks and short beaks. They primarily like to eat seeds, fruits, and plants. There is very little difference between pigeons and doves but the term dobe usually refers to the smaller and more delicate species.
A black and white drawing of a Mourning Dove
Illustration of a Mourning Dove.
NPS/Intern Tristan Thomas

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

• Mourning Doves are the most widespread and abundant game birds in North America
• Mourning Doves can survive in the desert because they can drink brackish spring water which has lots of salt in it. They can drink this water without become dehydrated like humans would.
• 99 percent of a Mourning Dove’s diet is seeds. Besides seeds they sometimes eat berries, snails, and peanuts.
• Male Mourning Doves have favorite spots to sit and coo called “cooing perches” and they defend these spots from other males.

Identification Information

• Size: Robin sized (Small/Medium)
• Color: Mourning Doves are a light brown and tan color all over with black spots on their wings and white tips on their tail feathers with a black border.
All of the above information is an abbreviated version of information gathered from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Please visit their website for more in-depth bird information.

Last updated: September 13, 2019

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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
National Park Service
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry , WV 25425


304 535-6029

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