South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Mourning Dove

Zenaida macroura

Length: 12 inches Wingspan: 17 - 19 inches Seasonality: Summer
ID Keys: Mostly gray with black spots on wings, long tail with white spots along edge, distinctive cooing

Mourning Dove - Zenaida macrouraOne of the most common birds across the state in the summer time.  A prolific breeder, Mourning doves will often raise multiple broods per year, and has been documented raising up to 6 broods in a single year in warmer southern states.  A very poor nest builder, nests are often a very loosely formed collection of sticks. 

Habitat: Farms, residential areas, roadsides, grasslands, open woods.  Found in nearly any open or semi-open habitat. 

Diet: Feeds almost exclusively on seeds.  Will rarely take insects or tiny invertebrates.

Behavior: Does the majority of foraging on the ground, filling its crop with seeds before moving off to digest seeds at rest.  They will also occasionally feed on seeds while perched in vegetation.

Nesting: Late April through mid-September

Breeding Map: Breeding bird survey map

Song: Mourning Dove Call

Migration: Most northern Mourning Doves migrate south in the fall, but some may remain in winter.

Similar Species: Eurasian Collared Dove, White-winged Dove

Bird Feeders: Will attend for sunflower seeds, millet, cracked corn, and other seeds.

Conservation Status: Very common and widespread, there are probably many more Mourning Doves now than before European Settlement, due to man's fragmentation of habitat.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Mourning Dove

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Mourning Dove"

3) -- Mourning Dove

Photo Information: July 2nd, 2005 -- Yard in Brandon, South Dakota -- Terry L. Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Mourning Dove photos.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Mourning Dove - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Very common and widespread in the state in the summer.  Uncommon to rare in winter, most often found in the extreme southern part of the state.