Nature Journal
with Photos

          
Mourning Dove Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
 
General Information
- Sexes similar
- Medium-sized, somewhat slender dove with very thin
   neck
- Black bill

Adult
- Pale buff-brown head, neck, breast, and belly
- Purple and green iridescence on neck
- Small black mark on lower neck
- Medium brown back and upperwings, with large black
   spots on coverts
- Long tail is pointed at tip
- Dark brown tail with white tips to outer four tail
   feathers

Juvenile
- Dark brown mottled head neck and breast
- Scaly neck and upperwings with numerous black spots
   on coverts and scapulars
- Pale belly
- Medium length tail is pointed at tip

Similar species
Long pointed tail is distinctive for adults, while black spotting on coverts and pale color help distinguish it from White-winged and White-tipped Doves. Juvenile is easily confused with Common Ground-Dove and Inca Dove, but is longer necked, shows a pointed tail with more white at edges and lacks cinnamon in primaries.
 
 
Return to Mourning Dove page