Zenaida Asiatica – White-Winged Dove

Zenaida Asiatica - White-Winged Dove found in the US

The white-winged dove, Zenaida asiatica is a bird endemic to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Their wings have a characteristic white border that sets them apart from other doves. Human growth has harmed the white-winged dove. Their range paralleled that of their preferred meal, the saguaro. Growing food sources dramatically increased its distribution in North America. As a result, some modern populations migrate.

Quick Overview: Zenaida Asiatica – White-Winged Dove
Body size: Around 11-12 in (28-30 cm) and a weight of 153 g (5.4 oz)
Main colors: Brown-gray, Gray, White, Blue, Red, Black, Pink-red, Purple
Range: Southwest the United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: All Year (January – December)
Conservation Status: Least Concern

White-Winged Dove Description

White-winged Large pigeon-like doves. Adults are brownish-gray above and gray below, with distinctive white wing patterns. The white wing bars form a 1cm broad border along the leading and bottom margins of the wings when folded. In-flight, they appear as bright white crescents on each wing’s top surface. Adult males and females have a blue ring of skin around each eye, red irises, a black feather patch beneath and behind each eye, and red or pinkish-red legs and feet. Field identification is difficult, although males are significantly bigger and have more vibrant purple neck, head, and ear spots than females. Adults are more gray-brown. They have no blue eye-ring, black irises, and pink or brownish-pink legs and feet.

Zenaida Asiatica - White-Winged Dove found in the US
Zenaida Asiatica – White-Winged Dove. Photo by: Becky Matsubara

Size

These birds have a length of 11-12 in (28-30 cm) and a weight of 153 g (5.4 oz). Their wings could range from 17-18 in (43-46 cm).

Feeding

White-winged Doves eat a wide range of seeds, grains, and fruits, depending on their range and season. They eat seeds and fruits from ornamental and natural trees, grasses, and plants. Wheat, corn, and safflower are significant domestic grain crops in many sections of the White-winged Dove’s habitat. White-winged Doves eat snail shells and other gastropods, as well as bone fragments from raptor pellets and mammalian dung. The doves need calcium for eggshell and crop milk production, which comes from the bones and shell.

Habitat

These birds live among desert scrub and cactus, as well as agricultural fields and residential areas. Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Veracruz, and the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas are semi-tropical thorny forests where eastern migratory populations breed. They nest widely in citrus groves, sometimes up to 90% of all nesting activity. In Texas, nesting colonies and individuals use residential shade and decorative trees as nest places and forage in surrounding agricultural areas.

Behavior

It is normal to see up to 4000 birds migrate, however in Texas, a flock of up to one million birds has been documented, breaking the previous record of 4000 birds. Despite the fact that they may survive entirely on the water contained in the fruit of the saguaro cactus, and can fly for up to 25 kilometers in search of water.

Zenaida Asiatica Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Columbiformes
  • Family: Columdibae
  • Genus: Zenaida
  • Species: Zenaida asiatica

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds is all year round, regardless of the season. This refers to any month of the year between January and December.

Distribution of the White-Winged Dove in the USA

Breeds in the Southwest and Texas. Introduced to Florida and spreading north. Migrates south of the United States for the winter.

The White-Winged Dove can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Zenaida Asiatica – White-Winged Dove

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