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White-winged Dove

Zenaida asiatica
Plump birds with dense plumage, pigeons and doves have small heads and short legs. They are predominantly buff or gray, but many species have colorful accents on the neck, head or breast. These accents are often somewhat more prominent in males, but sexes are generally similar. This order has a single family:
Most of the members of this group live in tropical or semi-tropical parts of the world. The term "pigeon" refers to the larger and "dove" to the smaller species in this group, although this usage is not consistent. Most pigeons and doves have plump bodies and soft plumage. The Washington members of this group are drab, but some have iridescent patches. Pigeons and doves are all strong fliers. One unique trait of this family is the ability to drink without tipping the head back, something no other bird can do. Pigeons and doves feed on seeds and fruits. Unlike many granivorous birds that switch to a diet of insects when raising young, pigeons have a unique system for feeding their young. Both males and females produce in their crops a protein- and fat-rich liquid called "pigeon milk," which they feed to their young. Most pigeons and doves lay clutches of one or two eggs.

    General Description

    This rare visitor from the Southwest is brownish-gray like a Mourning Dove but bulkier and shorter-tailed. The best field marks are the large, white upperwing patches readily visible on the folded wing and in flight, and the memorable, cooing “who cooks for you” song.

    White-winged Dove is resident from the southern U.S. border and Gulf Coast states through the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and Mexico to Panama. In recent years it has been extending its range northward and also into the Lesser Antilles. The first Washington record was from the Puyallup River valley (Pierce County) in 1907. The next one occurred ninety years later, at Cypress Island (Skagit County) in 1997, quickly followed by four more from 1999 to 2002. British Columbia shows a similar pattern, with the first record in 1918, then a long gap until the next nine records that fall from 1994 to 2006. Oregon’s first three records occurred from 1976 to 1986; the next seven were from 1995 to 2005. Idaho has a single accepted record, from 1994; six other, later reports are still under review by the state’s bird records committee. In the Pacific Northwest, White-winged Doves have been found on both sides of the Cascades and in all months except March and April, but the great majority have occurred in the western lowlands from May to November, frequently along the coast.

    Revised July 2007

    North American Range Map

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