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Scientific Name for Mourning Dove

Scientific Name for Mourning Dove

Every bird or animal has a different scientific name that is unknown to most of us except for the students studying zoology. In this article, let us have a look at some exciting and knowledgeable information related to Mourning Dove.

What is the scientific name of Mourning Dove?

The scientific name of Mourning Dove is Zenaida Macroura. It is a member of the dove family, Columbidae. It is also known as American Mourning Dove, Rain Dove and Turtle Dove.

It was once also known as Carolina Pigeon and Carolina Turtledove. They are primarily found in North America and are about 475 million in number. They are light grey, brown and generally muted in colour. Both male and female mourning doves are similar in appearance.

There are 5 subspecies of Mourning Dove as in the table below. Their scientific names and other details are as listed.

Subspecies NameScientific NameNative ofFound inCharacteristics
Mourning Dove (Marginella)Zenaida Macroura Marginella  North AmericaWestern Canada, Western United States till South Central MexicoShorter wings, Shorter legs, Longer beak, Pale grayish colour
Mourning Dove (Carolinensis)Zenaida Macroura Carolinensis  North AmericaEast Canada, East USA, Bermuda, Bahama IslandsLonger wings, Longer toes, Shorter beak, Dark in colour
Mourning Dove (Macroura)Zenaida Macroura Macroura  North AmericaCuba, Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti), Puerto Rico, JamaicaShorter wings, Dark to medium tone, Deep buff belly
Mourning Dove (Clarionensis)Zenaida Macroura Clarionensis  North AmericaClarion Island (off west Mexico)Distance between the toes is wider, Wider beak, dark brown plumage  
Mourning Dove (Turturilla)Zenaida Macroura TurturillaNorth AmericaCosta Rica, West PanamaShorter wings, Shorter legs, Longer bill, Pale grayish in colour

What is the meaning of Mourning Dove?

The mourning dove symbolizes spirituality and power. It is a symbol of the spirit that delivers a message of hope to all those who are suffering. It is also known as a symbol of protection, because it is considered the messenger of God and is seen as a symbol of God’s love and protection.

What are the physical characteristics of Mourning Dove?

The Mourning dove has a small head and bill, short legs and a plump body. Its slender tail is unique among the North American doves. It has a neck, but it only shoots up like a spring whenever they see something that catches their attention.

Its overall body is soft brown or greyish in colour, but the underparts are of creamy buff colour, and the wings have black spots. Also, the tail feathers have bordered white tips.

They have a mortality rate of 50%, and in the younger adults, it is even higher than 60-75%. Most songbirds have very tough survival due to the predators and the weather.

Mourning doves are ground feeders, and so their enemies are cats, falcons, hawks, racoons, crows, grackles and opossums. This makes the life span of young birds 1 – 1.5 years.

How is the behavior of the Mourning doves?

Male mourning doves are very aggressive in nature, especially when they are defending their territory. This behaviour is most common during the breeding season when the male doves compete with each other while attracting the female doves. When these birds are around the humans, they feel shy and this can lead to the window collision.

Also, they can be seen flying in medium to large flocks, especially in the nesting season when their families and groups may combine. They also enjoy being in the sun, and sometimes they may even spread out their wings, tails to soak the sunrays.

What do the Mourning Doves eat?

Mourning doves are omnivores, and therefore they mainly eat seeds and grains. As they are the ground feeders, you can see them picking seeds from the ground that are spilled by other visitors. They swallow grit which is in the form of fine gravel or sand, to later help in the digestion. But, when it’s time for the breeding season, the baby dove is given to eat more insects, mollusks and snails as the protein in it is required for proper development.

What is the preferred habitat of Mourning doves?

Mourning birds like to be in the open forests and farmland. But they are also easily adaptable to the suburban areas and parks. They prefer living in the warmer temperature places, and therefore they live in the places where the temperature is cosy.

What is the population of the Mourning Doves?

The conservation status of Mourning Dove’s is Least Concern as per the IUCN Red List. The population of these doves are around 475 million and increasing. In 40 states, approximately 20 million mourning doves are hunted, and about 40-70 million are shot dead each year by the hunters. Also, Western USA has seen the population decline due to lead poisoning.

What are the mating habits of Mourning Dove?

Mourning doves are monogamous, and some of these pairs remain together throughout the winter. They start breeding from February till October. The male dove starts performing a number of displays on the display perch along with the courtship ‘coo’. He will drive the other male doves away from the display perch but won’t build his own territory until he mates. The female dove will land near the male dove on the roost, and if they connect and pair a bond, they stay together for several days before they start building their nest.

Once the baby dove arrives, both parents feed the baby crop milk. The male dove will bring the nesting material and give it to the female who builds the nest. She will lay 2 small eggs, and then they both will provide warmth to that egg for 14 to 15 days. After 5 days, the baby is given seeds to eat, and after 15 days, it leaves the nest.


Mourning doves are similar to the pigeons but not exactly identical. Each living thing has its own unique characteristics, which helps him to distinguish itself from others. I hope this article has added excellent knowledge about the Mourning doves, and now you know most of its details.