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Mourning Dove

The Mourning Dove has a brown body, blue-gray wings pale underbelly and a long pointed tail. They grow to about 12 inches in length and have small heads for their size, which makes them appear rather dim-witted (an impression which is not dispelled by their seeming reluctance to get out of the way of oncoming traffic). They are powerful flyers though, and can fly long distances to get to food or water.

Natural History

Mourning Doves are found throughout North America, and are about the most common bird you'll see in Arizona, where they can be found rear-round. They eat a wide variety of seeds, grain, fruit and insects. They prefer seeds that rest on the ground, though occasionally, they eat in trees and bushes when the ground foods have become scarce. Most of the diet relies on seeds or plant parts (95%), though on rare occasions, doves can also be seen preying on grasshoppers, ants, beetles, and snails.

When Mourning Doves take off they clap their wings to get off this ground, producing a distinctive flapping noise.

Mourning doves are monogamous during the breeding season and some of these pairs stay on as couples thru the winter. After finding a mate, the male initiates the nest selection site. Nest construction takes over ten hours and covers a span of three to four days. The nests tend to be flimsy affairs and sometimes the eggs or hatchling falls right through. The female generally lays two small, white eggs and incubation lasts 14 to 15 days. Both the male and the female share incubating and the feeding of the babies. Mourning doves have the longest breeding season of all North American birds. They can often have three broods in one season.

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