7 Types Of DOVES In Arizona (ID Guide With Photos)
Did you recently come across a dove in the state of Arizona, and want to know what species it was?
Identifying doves in the Grand Canyon State is not as easy as it might seem, since there are many dove species in Arizona (as well as closely related pigeon species).
To help you identify the bird you saw, we’ll cover the most common doves of Arizona in this article.
What are the types of doves in Arizona?
The 7 types of doves found in Arizona are:
- Mourning Dove
- Common Ground Dove
- Eurasian Collared-Dove
- White-winged Dove
- Inca Dove
- Rock Pigeon
- Band-tailed Pigeon
While most of these doves are year round residents of Arizona, some are summer visitors during the breeding season.
Now let’s dive into the details, and take a closer look at each of these doves:
Scientific name: Zenaida macroura
The Mourning Dove is one of the most common birds in North America, especially around farms and suburban areas.
This dove is almost entirely grayish-brown with a pale underside. The wings and the tail are pointed, and there is a small black dot on the side of the face.
When viewed up close, a grayish blue eyering as well as pink legs and toes are great distinguishing features of the Mourning Dove.
It is a common bird in Arizona, and can be seen in the state year-round. During the winter it also frequents open woodland, but avoids large forests.
These birds are often seen perched on telephone wires, or walking around on the ground while foraging for seeds.
You can readily attract these birds to your yard by scattering millet, safflower seeds, Nyjer seeds, and cracked corn on the ground.
But if you do, make sure there are no bushes or shrubs too close to the feeding area, as cats like to use cover to stalk and pounce on these birds while they are feeding on the ground.
Common Ground Dove
Scientific name: Columbina passerina
The Common Ground Dove is a small Arizona bird that’s about the size of a sparrow. It is a species of southern US states, and can be found breeding in southern Arizona.
The overall coloration of these birds is brownish gray, with chestnut tones on the wings. In combination with their small size, the subdued dusty color makes these birds hard to spot on the ground.
Often you won’t notice these birds until you flush them from the ground, and see them flying away.
Another great way to identify them is by their repetitive coo-ing call, which is audible even if you can’t catch a glimpse of the bird since it’s hidden in thick scrub.
Common Ground Doves are year-round residents in the southern parts of the state. They readily visit ground bird feeders that offer shelled sunflower seeds and other seeds.
In their original desert habitat, these birds are opportunistic breeders that raise their young after plentiful rainfall leads to an abundance of seeds.
They nest on the ground, which makes them vulnerable to predators. This explains why these birds are so well camouflaged, which allows them to blend in with their surroundings.
Scientific name: Zenaida asiatica
The White-winged Dove used to be a bird of remote desert areas.
But as a result of adapting to man-made habitats, it is a summer visitor and breeding bird in cities and towns across the southern US, including the southern half of Arizona.
This dove is almost entirely light gray, except for a bright white stripe on its wings.
The white areas on the wings are most prominent when it takes to the air, and are a great feature for identifying this species.
It also has a black spot on its cheek, and if viewed close enough, its bright orange eye with a light blue eyering is a great distinguishing feature.
These doves are frequently found in urban and suburban areas with suitable nesting trees, and are most often encountered foraging on the ground.
During the winter, these doves fly south to spend the cold season in Mexico, although there is a small population in the southernmost part of Arizona that is non-migratory.
Scientific name: Columbina inca
The Inca Dove is a bird of the southwest, and is a common bird in the southern half of Arizona, and is often found in human settlements.
They are uniformly brown birds, except for the dark rims of their feathers, which give them a “scaly” appearance.
These birds were originally desert birds, but have become common park birds, and also visit bird feeders that offer seed mixes.
They are very comfortable living close to humans, and will accept a variety of human cultivated areas as their habitat. As a result, these birds have been expanding their range in Arizona.
These birds don’t tolerate cold temperatures very well, and roost together in tight huddles to conserve warmth if the temperature falls below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Scientific name: Streptopelia decaocto
The Eurasian Collared-Dove was originally not a native bird of North America.
But after it was accidentally introduced into the Bahamas in the 1970s, the Eurasian Collared-Dove colonized Florida in the 1980s, and then continued its spread throughout most of North America.
A breeding pair of the Eurasian Collared-Dove was first observed in Arizona in the year 2000.
It has since spread throughout the state, and is now a common breeding bird in urban habitats of Arizona, where it is often found in the same areas as Mourning Doves.
You can tell this bird apart from Mourning Doves by its black collar on the neck, as well as the white patches on the tail, which are most prominent when it is flushed from the ground.
While these doves aren’t migratory, they are highly dispersive after the breeding season, and as a result show up in areas where they normally don’t breed.
You can readily attract these birds to your backyard by offering bird seeds on the ground.
Scientific name: Columba livia
The Rock Pigeon is the most common dove species in the world, as it has adapted extremely well to urban environments, and is found in large numbers in cities all around the globe.
These pigeons are a common sight on many public squares and on the sidewalks of city streets, where they feed on scraps of food that are discarded by humans.
This is another pigeon that isn’t an original native of North America, but was introduced by European settlers in the early 17th Century.
These pigeons are easily attracted to bird feeders on the ground that offer grains or dried bread. But in many cities Rock Pigeons are considered a pest, and you may not be allowed to feed them.
The increase of Peregrine Falcons breeding in large cities across North America is largely due to the fact that feral Rock Pigeons provide such a rich food source for these raptors in Arizona.
Rock Doves are also famous for their homing abilities, and were used by humans in previous centuries for carrying messages.
Scientific name: Patagioenas fasciata
The Band-tailed Pigeon is a bird of the Pacific coast and the Southwestern USA.
It is found throughout Arizona, but is a migratory bird in the north of the state, and a year-round resident in the south of the state.
Band-tailed Pigeons used to be shy forest birds, but have become more and more comfortable around humans, and are now commonly observed visiting platform feeders.
These pigeons are most often found in mature forests, where they forage at the top of tall trees, which makes them difficult to observe.
When flying, they resemble rock pigeons, but can be identified by the pale band at the end of their tail.
Another great distinguishing feature of Band-tailed Pigeons is their partial white neck ring, although juvenile pigeons don’t have this characteristic.
And there we have the doves found in the state of Arizona.
The varied habitats of Arizona are home to more than 600 different species of birds, and doves make up a significant proportion of this rich avifauna.
Including both doves and pigeons, these birds play a vital role in the ecology of their habitats.
If you enjoyed this article, check out our guide to the black birds of Arizona.