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Zenaida Dove

Zenaida aurita

Length: 11-12 inches Wingspan: 17-18 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys:  Brownish-gray upperparts, ruddy-gray underparts, white trailing edge of wing seen in flight

Zenaida Dove - Zenaida auritaThe Zenaida Dove is a close relative of North America's Mourning Dove.  However, their range is primarily on islands of the Caribbean, as well as much of South America.  In the United States, they once used to nest in select locations in the Florida Keys.  However, nesting has seemingly stopped, and they are now just considered rare vagrants to the Florida Keys and south Florida.

Habitat: Found in a variety of open and semi-open habitats, including agricultural land, grasslands and savannahs, low open scrubland, forest edges, and open woodlands.  They can be found in most lowland habitats in their range, except for unbroken and dense forest.

Diet: Mostly feeds on seeds, fruits, and berries.   However, they will also occasionally feed on small invertebrates such as insects, spiders, and earthworms.

Behavior: Feeds by walking on the ground in search of food.  Will also sometimes forage low in the foliage and branches of shrubs and trees, especially when feeding on fruits and berries.

Nesting: The nest of a Zenaida Dove is a loose platform of sticks, usually placed low in a tree or shrub, but also sometimes placed directly on the ground.  The female lays two eggs.  Both parents help to raise the young after the eggs hatch, feeding them regurgitated "pigeon milk" like many other pigeon and dove species.  The young leave the nest after about 2 weeks.

Song: The song of a Zenaida Dove is a multi-phrased cooing.

Migration: Considered a permanent resident throughout its normal range.

Interactive eBird map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Zenaida Dove sightings

Similar Species: Mourning Dove

Conservation Status: Populations are widespread, they are common in many parts of their range, and they may be increasing in number.  The IUCN lists the Zenaida Dove as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) Audubon Guide - Zenaida Dove

2) BirdLife International - Zenaida Dove

3) Cornell's Neotropical Birds - Zenaida Dove

Photo Information: Photo taken in June 2015 - St. John's Island, U.S. Virgin Islands - Terry Sohl


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Zenaida Dove - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional Zenaida Dove Photos
 Zenaida Dove - Zenaida aurita