Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

Order: Columbiformes,  Family: Columbidae

Appearance/Behavior: The mourning dove (23 – 34 cm) has the typical profile of a dove: somewhat squat body, short neck, and a long pointed tail (blue arrow).  It is tan, with the wings and back contrasting with a darker gray tone (red arrow).  The beak is black.

Relative Frequency of Visitation in Study: Rare, only a single visit consisting of two individuals.

Seasonal Activity: Potentially year-round, but sole documented visit was in winter.

Daily Activity:  Strictly diurnal.

Similar Species:  No other avian visitors to the compost piles resemble the mourning dove.  A rock pigeon (Columba livia) with light plumage might be confused for a mourning dove.  Although the pigeon is found in the same region as the compost field site, it has not been observed at the site itself.  A documented compost visitor, the common grackle has a long tail, like the mourning dove, but is brown (juvenile) or glossy black (adult) with a trimmer build. The American robin also has a gray back, but its reddish orange breast is lacking in the mourning dove.  Furthermore, the dark-eyed junco has a gray back, but is much smaller than the mourning dove and has white underparts, which the dove lacks.

Well-defined Images: