Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
Order: COLUMBIFORMES Family: Pigeons and Doves (Columbidae)
Mourning Doves are a medium-sized wild bird with a grayish brown back, a buff underneath, black spots on the wings, and a black spot shaped like a comma below and behind the eye.
They have a small, thin black bill, red legs and dark brown eyes. Males are larger than females and show more color with a bluish cap, pink chest and neck feathers and three white outer tail feathers. The female is graced with an olive gray cap and a tan breast. Neck feathers can be greenish or pinkish with one or two white outer feathers.
Behavior: An interesting fact about the Mourning Dove is that when they are building a nest the female stays at the nest site and the male bird collects the sticks. He then stands on her back to give her the sticks and she then weaves them into their nest. A Mourning Dove pair rarely leaves its eggs unattended. The male usually incubates from midmorning until late afternoon, and the female sits the rest of the day and night. When not nesting they generally eat enough to fill their bi-lobed crops and then fly back to digest. The bird's crop is a large sac at the bottom of the esophagus. In some areas the Mourning Doves nest almost year round because they feed their young “crop milk,” a fluid from the lining the crop. The parents regurgitate the "milk" directly into the hatchling's mouth and throat.
.General: Their wings make a musical whishing noise when they fly. The feathers of a Mourning Dove are loosely attached to their skin and serve as a means of escape by easily pulling free when grabbed by a predator.
Mourning Doves can be found throughout most of North America and are considered among the top ten most abundant birds in the United States. While the average longevity for a typical adult is only about 1.5 years, the oldest known free-living Mourning Dove, as proven by bird banding research, was more than 31 years old. This is the longest life-span ever recorded for any terrestrial bird found in North America. They get their name from their mournful song.