White Winged Doves

On the Trail with Museum Scientist Michael W. Nickell

Published Jan 12th 2017 in Wildlife, Birds, birding

White-winged doves (Zenaida asiatica) are heavy-bodied for doves.Adults are grayish-brown with distinctive white wing bars visible both in flight and at rest.The sexes are similar, both possessing a bare ring of blue skin around the eyes with red irises, a black marking beneath the eyes, and pinkish-red legs and feet.Males tend to be a little larger than females and have a hint of iridescent purple wash on the head and neck.Juveniles have black irises and no blue eye ring.

The native range of white-winged doves extends from the southwestern United States through Mexico and Central America and into parts of South America.Most populations are seasonally migratory with a breeding season between April and September in the Southwest, but some southwestern populations have become permanent residents.The historical southwestern boundaries have been augmented by the expansion of available food and nesting resources of agricultural lands, suburban habitat, and the adaptability to feed on a wide variety of wild and domesticated seeds, grains, and fruits.White-winged doves are also important pollinators and seed dispersers of columnar cacti in the desert southwest.

White-winged doves share similar feeding and nesting niches with other dove species, such as the mourning dove, leading to interspecific competition.In urban and suburban areas, white-winged doves can have a significant negative correlation to populations of mourning doves.