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Are All Doves White?

Are All Doves White?

Among all of the different birds that you see on a regular basis, the dove has got to be one of the most popular out there. Probably one of the reasons why the dove is quite popular is that it comes with a pure white color that makes it look clean and pure. Its white color is one of the reasons why it is quite popular at weddings. But, even though we do associate the dove with the color white, are all doves actually white?

Not all doves are white because the dove also has different types that are not colored white. Mourning doves, turtle doves, diamond doves, and spotted doves are all not white. In fact, the white dove we know of is actually called the release dove, which is also called the white pigeon.

So, while we do believe that doves are generally white because the most popular doves are white, that is not always the case because doves can come in different colors depending on their type. This is why it is important for us to know what a dove really is because some people only think that only those pure-white birds are the doves.

Are all doves white?

When it comes to joyous ceremonies such as weddings or other types of celebrations, the white dove has its special place in society as they are often used in such ceremonies as release birds that are released into the air for symbolic purposes. This is why white doves are often symbols of happiness, joy, purity, new beginnings, and other types of wonderful emotions. That is also the reason why plenty of people believe that doves are only white because, when you say dove, we automatically think of the white doves that are often seen in weddings and other celebrations.

With all that said, is it really true that all doves are white? Are there even other types of doves that come in different colors aside from white?

Basically, not all doves are white because the white dove that we are talking about is merely just a type of dove called a release dove. It is also even called white pigeon in a lot of other places as well because of how doves and pigeons have similar appearances and features overall. 

That said, the popular bird we call “dove” is not actually the only representative of the dove family because there are other types of doves as well. And these doves are not necessarily color white because of how they come in their own unique colors as well. You might even end up surprised to know that some of the birds you commonly see are actually doves.

What are the different types of doves?

Now that we have established that not all doves are white and that there are different types of doves, let us now talk more about these different types of doves.

Mourning dove

Among all of the other types of doves, the mourning dove is probably the most commonly found dove in the United States as you can basically find it almost anywhere. These are the types of doves that you will see in normal places such as the streets where they may be perched up on telephone wires. You can also find them in parks where they might be seen perched on tree branches. Basically, the mourning dove is quite common as you will likely see it watching people pass by while it is high up on a wire or a branch.

The mourning dove is known for being one of the fastest doves in terms of its flight. It is also capable of amazing speeds when flying straight. And this is why these doves are often compared to bullets whenever they are flying as they are just simply too fast compared to other doves. 

Mourning doves are not white, unlike their release dove counterparts. Their colors vary depending on where they are but they usually have plumages that are light grey or even brownish. Meanwhile, it is quite common to see black spots on the wings of a mourning dove. Male mourning doves have blue crowns while female mourning doves tend to be browner.

Turtle dove

The turtle dove is another dove that you might be familiar with in name but probably not in appearance. And the reason why you are probably familiar with the turtle dove in name is due to the fact that it is mentioned in the popular Christmas song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.

These birds are mostly found in temperate and tropical environments but can also be found all over Europe (and that is why they are called the European turtle dove). The turtle dove is also generally smaller than most other types of doves out there.

Also called the ringneck dove, the turtle dove comes with a black and white patch on its neck that may resemble a ring, and that is how they got that name. These doves also are not white but come with a darker brown color.

The reason why turtle doves have that name is due to the fact that they make sounds that are similar to that of the sounds made by turtles. Hence, they are not related to turtles in any way but are merely just similar to them in terms of the sounds that they make.

Diamond dove

The diamond dove is not as common in the US as other doves are because they are residents of the Australian continent. In Australia, they are often seen in arid and semi-arid places that are near bodies of water, and that is why they are more common in Central, West, and Northern Australia. Classified as “pigeons”, these doves are quite small and are most likely smaller than most other types of doves around.

As mentioned, the diamond dove is quite small and is only about 9 to 11 inches long from head to tail. These birds are not white but have feathers that are brown. Meanwhile, both male and female diamond doves have white spots and black edges on their wings, red eyes, and orange eye-rings. However, the male comes with a light bluish-grey head, neck, and breast.

Despite being one of the smallest birds on this list, the diamond dove is amazingly resilient as it is able to withstand high heat levels. You can thank the fact that it has gotten used to the arid and dry parts of Australia for its resiliency.

Spotted dove

The spotted dove is a species of a dove that is mostly found in Southeast Asia and is not as common in America and other continents. Nevertheless, they are quite resilient as well as they are able to live in different types of environments. That’s why it isn’t unusual to see a spotted dove in America even though it isn’t endemic to that continent.

Like all of the other doves on this list, the spotted dove is not white but has a color that is predominantly brown. However, its wing feathers are noticeably a lot darker than the entire body. Of course, true to its name, the spotted dove come with light brown spots all over its dark brown body. But, surprisingly, some spotted doves have a grown that is whitish or greyish in appearance, which is quite unique considering that this dove is predominantly brown.

Release dove

Finally, we have the release dove, which is the dove that we know of as the bird that is often released at weddings and other happy celebrations. That is why they have earned the name “release” dove as they are released in celebrations and other similar events. Interestingly though, they are also called white pigeons.

While we do know that the release dove is the white dove that is used in weddings, things have changed over the past few years. Science has shown that release doves don’t have homing instincts and are often eaten or killed in accidents after they are released in celebrations. This is why they are no longer as widely used in weddings as released birds.

Also, while the release dove is white, this wasn’t always the case. This bird was actually bred from the barbary dove, which isn’t a white pigeon. However, the albinism that occurs in the barbary dove was taken advantage of by breeders to produce the release dove that we know of as a white bird.

That said, going back to our question as to whether or not all doves are white, you should know by now that not all doves are white. In fact, there probably isn’t even a naturally white dove species out there as the release dove is simply the result of albinism that occurs in the barbary dove. As such, the white doves that are quite popular are actually the outliers in the entire dove family because most doves are not actually white, to begin with.

Is the dove simply just a white pigeon?

We have been mentioning time and time again that doves are often mistaken to be pigeons. After all, they do look the same for the untrained eyes. So, in that case, are the doves we know of just actually a white pigeon?

The answer to that question is both a yes and a no. 

We would like to say yes because, today, the release birds that we see in weddings and other celebratory events may still be called doves but they are not actually doves. Going back to what we said about release doves, they are not homing birds that know how to find their way home, and this is why they will often die shortly after being released at weddings. Because of that, white homing pigeons are now being bred so that they can be marketed as “doves” that are released at weddings and other events. These white homing pigeons are better than release doves because they are homing birds that are capable of finding their way back after being released.

Meanwhile, we would like to say that doves are not simply white pigeons because the white dove we know of is an entirely different species compared to the pigeon. It might be true that white pigeons are now more popularly used in weddings but both of these birds are entirely different from one another.

What are the differences between doves and pigeons?

Now that we said that doves and pigeons are different from one another, what makes them different? Here are some of the quick differences that are quite common between doves and pigeons.

In a general sense, we often give the dove a better reputation compared to the pigeon because we related doves to things such as happiness, purity, and other similar positive feelings and concepts. While that isn’t necessarily true, this is nevertheless one of the differences between doves and pigeons as we often equate pigeons to birds that are funny and goofy enough to want to wander around cities just to find something to eat. But while we do have different ways of viewing these birds, they are actually pretty similar but are still very different from one another.

One of the more unknown differences between doves and pigeons is that these names are simply different terms that are their own unique origins, which explains why we often see doves and pigeons as different birds. The dove’s name is Nordic while the pigeon has French origins in its name. However, the truth is that doves and pigeons usually refer to over 300 species of birds that belong to the same Columbidae family. But that doesn’t mean that doves and pigeons are the same because the Columbidae birds we refer to with the dove and pigeon names are usually different from one another physically.

Another general difference between doves and pigeons is that doves are often seen as the smaller birds between the two while pigeons are usually referred to as the larger birds. But such a general statement isn’t actually scientifically proven or supported because, again, doves and pigeons belong to the same family of birds but are still actually quite different because they are unique species.

The truth, however, is that the terms dove and pigeons are usually region-specific in the sense that different regions tend to use the terms depending on what they are used to. For example, Pacific regions tend to differentiate the two in terms of their size, and that is why the doves are generally seen as the smaller of the two birds. Meanwhile, in South America, they refer to doves and pigeons as similar birds that belong to the same family in the sense that these terms are umbrella names that cover the entire family.So, that said, the differences between doves and pigeons are more specific when you look at the different species of birds that belong to the Columbidae family. As such, we cannot truly define what makes a dove different from a pigeon because of how these names can be interchanged in certain regions around the world even though we already have generalizations on what doves are and how different they are from pigeons. Just think of them as similar birds that belong to the same family but are nevertheless unique species in their own right.