Zenaida macroura

Common Names: Mourning dove, turtle dove, American mourning dove, rain dove, Carolina pigeon, Carolina turtledove
Category: Birds
Sub-category: Pigeons & Doves

The mourning dove is a medium-sized, slender dove approximately 12 inches in length. The elliptical wings are broad, and the head is rounded. Its tail is long and tapered. Mourning doves have perching feet, with three toes forward and one reversed. The legs are short and reddish colored. The beak is short and dark, usually a brown-black hue. The plumage is generally light gray-brown and lighter and pinkish below. The wings have black spotting, and the outer tail feathers are white, contrasting with the black inners. Below the eye is a distinctive crescent-shaped area of dark feathers. The eyes are dark, with light skin surrounding them. The adult male has bright purple-pink patches on the neck sides, with light pink coloring reaching the breast. The crown of the adult male is a distinctly bluish-grey color. Females are similar in appearance, but with more brown coloring overall and a little smaller than the male. The iridescent feather patches on the neck above the shoulders are nearly absent, but can be quite vivid on males. Juvenile birds have a scaly appearance, and are generally darker. The wings make an unusual whistling sound upon take-off and landing, a form of sonation.

The mourning dove occupies a wide variety of open and semi-open habitats, such as urban areas, farms, prairie, grassland, and lightly wooded areas. It avoids swamps and thick forest. The species has adapted well to areas altered by humans. They commonly nest in trees in cities or near farmsteads.

Edible Notes: In culinary terminology, squab is a young domestic pigeon or dove or its meat. The meat is widely described as tasting like dark chicken. Squab can sometimes be found in specialty food stores in Connecticut or ordered by your butcher or online.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.