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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

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Maximum longevity: 25 years
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Doves and pigeons are known carriers of the avian parasite Trichomonas gallinae and as a result, can spread the avian disease trichomoniasis. Virulent strains of the disease can cause severe lesions that can block the mouth and pharynx of infected birds, resulting in starvation or infection. Outbreaks of virulent strains have been responsible for Mourning Dove mortality, but no White-winged Doves deaths have been documented from trichomoniasis. White-winged Doves have been shown to be important carriers of a virulent strains of T. gallinae, leading researchers to speculate that White-winged Doves may spread the disease to Mourning Doves. Research to this point has not confirmed this concern.

Trichomoniasis is spread, however, to dove-eating raptors such as Cooper’s Hawks (Accipiter cooperi), where it contributes to nestling mortality among populations that utilize doves as a primary food source. This is the case among urban populations of Cooper’s Hawks in Tucson, where higher incidences of trichomoniasis among urban populations are linked to prey selection. No research has been done on the affects of trichomoniasis on White-winged Dove avian nest predators.

(Boal et al. 1998, Conti et al 1985, Stabler 1954 and 1961)

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Kropp, R. 2002. "Zenaida asiatica" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zenaida_asiatica.html
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Robin Kropp, University of Arizona
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Behavior

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Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Kropp, R. 2002. "Zenaida asiatica" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zenaida_asiatica.html
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Conservation Status

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In the early 1900’s, White-winged Dove breeding populations increased as irrigation and grain farming brought new sources of food and water to their historic range. As agricultural development and urban development began to eliminate traditional native brush nesting areas, doves shifted to nesting in citrus orchards. As a result of these habitat modifications, White-winged Dove populations have fluctuated throughout much of their range in response to changing nesting and feeding conditions. For example, after freezes, the citrus orchards that serve as major nest sites for eastern doves are unusable for 5-8 years until branches grow back to enough to provide sufficient cover. Dove populations decline with the lack of nest sites, then increase as they become available again. Likewise, increases or decreases in dove numbers have often been linked to availability of agricultural grain crops. Since the 1960’s, the overriding trend amid these fluctuations has been a steady decline in Eastern and Western White-winged Dove populations on their traditional breeding grounds.

Because it is an important game species, management of the White-winged Dove is an issue of concern. Recommendations for conservation and management include restoration and conservation of critical breeding habitats. State and federal wildlife agencies in Texas are attempting to restore habitat for White-winged Doves and other wildlife by planting native vegetation on former cropland along the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas. In Tamaulipas, the brushy native vegetation used by the largest colony of nesting White-winged Doves was recently set aside as a sanctuary by the Mexican government. More of this type of protection is needed in additional breeding areas as well as in the non-breeding areas of southern Mexico and Central America where the doves spend the other half of the year.

(Blankinship 1966, Brown 1989, Burkepile et al. 1998, Fulbricht 1996, George et al. 1994)

US Migratory Bird Act: protected

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Kropp, R. 2002. "Zenaida asiatica" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zenaida_asiatica.html
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Benefits

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White-winged Doves have a negative impact on the agricultural economies within their range. They do not wait for harvest or ripe grain to fall, but instead perch upon stalks of sunflower or sorghum and eat the developing seeds. They aggregate in large flocks of sometimes thousands of birds, descend upon a single field of grain, and decimate it. For this reason they are known as “la plaga” (the plague) among many farmers in Mexico.

(Cottam and Trefethen 1968, George et al. 1994)

Negative Impacts: crop pest

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Kropp, R. 2002. "Zenaida asiatica" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zenaida_asiatica.html
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Benefits

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White-winged Doves are the second most numerous migratory game bird species in North America (Mourning Doves are the first). In 1968, Cottam and Trefethen reported that hunting tourism during the two week hunting season in September brought an estimated $3 to $7.5 million annually to the local economy of Texas’ Lower Rio Grande Valley. Although tighter hunting regulations in recent years have limited dove take, White-winged Dove hunting continues to contribute to the economies of Texas, Arizona, and Tamaulipas states, where hunters from throughout North America gather each year for dove season.

(Cottam and Trefethen 1968)

Positive Impacts: food

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Kropp, R. 2002. "Zenaida asiatica" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zenaida_asiatica.html
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Associations

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Western White-winged Doves are important pollinators of the saguaro cactus. This behavior serves them well since they also feed on saguaro fruits and seeds. Although they are primary seed consumers, White-winged Doves also serve as dispersers of saguaro seeds. Some of the seeds the doves regurgitate and feed to their young fall to the ground, concentrating seeds beneath the nest. Since saguaro seedlings require shade to become successfully established, the doves may be inadvertently placing saguaro seeds in some of the most viable spots for development beneath their nest trees.

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds; pollinates

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Kropp, R. 2002. "Zenaida asiatica" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zenaida_asiatica.html
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Trophic Strategy

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White-winged Doves feed on a variety of seeds, grain, and fruit that vary depending on their range and seasonal availability. They consume seeds and fruits of wild trees, grasses, and herbaceous plants, as well as those of ornamental cultivars. Domestic grain crops including sunflower, barley, sesame, sorghum, wheat, corn, and safflower are also an important food source in many parts of White-winged Dove’s range. To supplement their seed-based diet, White-winged Doves will also ingest shells of small snails and other gastropods, or bits of bone extracted from raptor pellets or mammal feces. The bones and shell are an important source of calcium for the doves, necessary for eggshell and crop milk production.

Western White-winged Doves’ dietary preferences lead them to migrate into the Sonoran Desert to breed during the hottest and driest time of the year. Their paradoxical arrival at such a harsh season is tied to the flowering and fruiting of columnar cacti such as the saguaro (Carnegia gigantea). Flower pollen and nectar, and subsequent fruits and seeds, provide virtually all the needed food and moisture required by desert White-winged Doves from May to mid-July. This food supply is consistently dependable, for even in drought years, columnar cacti flower abundantly in the Sonoran Desert. Wolf and Martinez del Rio performed isotopic analysis of Western White-winged Dove tissues during saguaro flowering and fruiting season and found that most of the carbon and water in the birds’ bodies was derived from saguaros. This research demonstrates a strong ecological association between saguaros and desert White-winged Doves and illustrates why western populations’ original range was closely tied to that of the saguaro cactus. With the arrival of agriculture in southwestern North America, Western White-winged Doves’ range has expanded into areas beyond the saguaro’s distribution in response to newly available food resources.

(Cottam and Trefethen 1968, George et al. 1994, Haughey 1986, Waggerman 1977, Wolf and Martinez del Rio 2000)

Plant Foods: leaves; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit; nectar; pollen

Primary Diet: herbivore (Frugivore , Granivore , Nectarivore )

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Kropp, R. 2002. "Zenaida asiatica" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zenaida_asiatica.html
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Distribution

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White-winged Doves (Zenaida asiatica) are semi-tropical doves whose native range extends from the southwestern U.S. through Mexico and Central America, into parts of western South America, and to some Caribbean islands. They are also residents in Florida, where they were introduced. The majority of White-winged Doves are seasonally migratory. They overwinter in Mexico and Central America and come to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico in April to breed, departing again in September. Some will overwinter in their breeding range, especially in residential areas where food remains available. In the southern parts of their range, they are year-round residents. There are twelve subspecies of White-winged Doves. Western or Desert White-winged Doves (Zenaida asiatica mearnsii) and Eastern White-winged Doves (Zenaida asiatica asiatica) are the most numerous and widely distributed subspecies.

(Ehrlich 1988, George et al. 1994, Rappole 2000, Stiles and Skutch 1989)

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); neotropical (Native )

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Kropp, R. 2002. "Zenaida asiatica" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zenaida_asiatica.html
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Habitat

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White-winged Doves inhabit brushlands and woodlands or desert scrub and cacti, as well as agricultural fields and residential areas throughout their range. Eastern migratory populations breed in the semi-tropical, thorny woodlands in the states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Veracruz in Mexico and along the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, USA. They also nest extensively in citrus orchards, accounting in some years for 50-90% of all nesting activity. In Texas, nesting colonies and individuals also rely on residential shade and ornamental trees as nest sites from which they utilize bird feeders and bird baths in town and take feeding forays into nearby agricultural fields. Western White-winged Doves breed in regions of desert scrub and cacti or riparian woodlands throughout Sonora and Baja California in Mexico, and in southeastern Nevada and California, southern Arizona, and western New Mexico, USA. They also utilize citrus groves and residential areas as nesting sites and agricultural fields for feeding grounds. When they migrate south for winter, both populations join resident White-winged Doves in semi-arid regions of thornscrub, deciduous dry forest, cacti forest, savannah, and agricultural and riparian areas with scattered trees.

(George et al. 1994, Small 1989, Stiles and Skutch 1989)

Habitat Regions: tropical

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; scrub forest

Other Habitat Features: suburban ; agricultural ; riparian

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Kropp, R. 2002. "Zenaida asiatica" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zenaida_asiatica.html
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Life Expectancy

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Average lifespan
Status: wild:
261 months.

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Kropp, R. 2002. "Zenaida asiatica" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zenaida_asiatica.html
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Morphology

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White-winged Doves are large, pigeon-like doves. Adult birds are brownish-gray above and gray below, with distinct white wing markings found in no other New World dove. When perched with wings folded, the white wing bars form a narrow (1cm wide) margin along the leading and lower edges of the wings. In flight, they appear as brilliant white crescents framing the body on the upper surface of each wing. Both male and female adults also have a ring of blue, featherless skin around each eye, red irises, a patch of black feathers or “ear spot” beneath and behind the eye, and red or pinkish-red legs and feet. Males and females are difficult to differentiate in the field, although males tend to be slightly larger and a bit more colorful than females, with a hint of purple on the neck and head, and a bolder black ear spot. Juveniles are more gray-brown than adults. They have no blue eye ring, their irises are black, and their legs and feet are pink or brownish-pink.

White-winged Doves are often compared to Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura), but Mourning Doves are slightly smaller, with smaller heads and bills. Additionally, Mourning Doves’ tails are pointed instead of squared, and they lack the distinct bright wing patches or white tail tips of White-winged Doves.

(Cottam and Trefethen 1968, Kaufman 2000, Oberholser 1974)

Average mass: 170 g.

Average length: 30 cm.

Average wingspan: 50 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Average mass: 140 g.

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Kropp, R. 2002. "Zenaida asiatica" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zenaida_asiatica.html
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Associations

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White-winged Doves are hunted by a variety of predators. Raptors take young and adults during nesting season, but take of eggs and nestlings by grackles, jays, and crows is a more significant source of White-winged Dove predation. Great-tailed Grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) and Mexican Crows (Corvis imparatus) are the highest cause of White-winged Dove mortality in eastern breeding areas where they take eggs and nestlings to feed to their own broods. Mammals and reptiles will also take young and eggs from nests, but they are principle predators on the ground. When aware of predators, nesting doves rarely perform distraction displays. More often, they readily flee from their nests in explosive flight that can result in eggs or chicks being ejected from the nest. Terrestrial predators consume these young. Finally, ants will sometimes swarm and eat hatching or newly-emerged chicks.

(Blankinship 1966 and 1970, Cottam and Trefethen 1968, Dunks 1969, Ehrlich 1988)

Known Predators:

  • hawks (Accipitridae)
  • owls (Strigiformes)
  • grackles (Quiscalus)
  • crows (Corvus)
  • bobcats (Lynx rufus)
  • ringtails (Bassariscus astutus)
  • raccoons (Procyon lotor)
  • Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana)
  • domestic cats (Felis silvestris)
  • coyotes (Canis latrans)
  • Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus)
  • gopher snakes (Pituophis)
  • rattlesnakes (Crotalus)
  • kingsnakes (Lampropeltis)
  • rat snakes (Elaphe)
  • races (Coluber)
  • whip snakes (Dryophiops)
  • ants (Formicidae)
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Kropp, R. 2002. "Zenaida asiatica" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Zenaida_asiatica.html
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Reproduction

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Once males have established nesting territories, they attract a mate with cooing and visual displays and aggressively defend the territory from other males, sparring with wing-slaps if necessary. If an interested female approaches, males perform precopulation behaviors such as additional cooing, wing and tail fanning, bowing, and mutual preening.

Mating System: monogamous

White-winged Doves arrive in their northern breeding grounds in late April. Western White-winged Doves will nest as isolated pairs in the southwest deserts, whereas Eastern White-winged Doves commonly nest in large colonies. Males seek out and defend nesting territories in woody habitat within flying distance of food and water. Banding of desert-nesting birds has shown that they will regularly fly up to 8 km from the nest site to a water source. Urban White-winged Doves nesting in San Antonio, Texas have been observed taking daily feeding forays to farms 5-20 km from their nest sites.

After copulation, the female chooses a nest site within the male’s territory, generally at forking tree branches or even atop abandoned nests of other birds. Over 2-5 days, she builds a relatively flimsy nest with grasses, twigs, weed stems and other nesting materials brought to her by her mate. Females usually lay two cream to white, unmarked eggs, and incubation begins before the second egg is laid. Both parents incubate the eggs in regular shifts; males are generally on the nest from mid-morning until mid-afternoon, and females from mid-afternoon through mid-morning.

Incubation lasts about 14 days, and the older chick hatches about a day earlier than its sibling. For the first four days of life, White-winged Dove parents feed their chicks “crop milk”, a protein- and fat-rich secretion of the esophageal lining that is chemically similar to mammalian milk. This diet is then supplemented with regurgitated seeds, and by the second week, the chicks’ diet is mostly composed of seeds. The chicks grow quickly and can leave the nest within 13-16 days of hatching. The male continues to feed the young near the nest until they are about four weeks old, while the female may start a new clutch as early as three days following the fledging, or loss, of the first clutch. Research in Texas has shown that on average, Eastern White-winged Doves successfully fledge about 2.2 chicks in a breeding season. By early August, nesting is over, and the adults and young doves aggregate in large feeding flocks where food is available. They move between nightly roost sites and daily foraging grounds until mid to late September, when they begin to migrate south.

(Cottam and Trefethen 1968, Ehrlich 1988, George et al. 1994, Goodwin 1977)

Breeding season: spring, through August

Average eggs per season: 2.2.

Average time to hatching: 14 days.

Average fledging age: 14.5 days.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); oviparous

Average time to hatching: 13 days.

Average eggs per season: 2.

Parental Investment: altricial ; male parental care ; female parental care

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Brief Summary

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The white-winged dove is a fairly large dove with a long bill. Its name derives from a broad white band that can be seen along the edge of the wing when it is folded and across the wing when it is opened. The reddish eye is surrounded by bright blue skin, and there is a dark streak on the cheek below the eye.

The white-winged dove is native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America. Its diet consists of seeds, berries, and other fruit.

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Life Cycle

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White-winged doves are migratory and arrive at their breeding grounds in late-April. Males seek out nesting grounds in woody habitat and are territorial, sparring with wing-slaps when necessary. They attract a mate with cooing and visual displays. After copulation, the female will choose a nest site within the male's territory and construct a nest out of grasses, twigs, and weed stems. The female typically lays two eggs, and then both the male and female take turns incubating the eggs. Incubation lasts about 14 days, and the chicks leave the nest within 13-16 days of hatching. The male will continue to feed the young near the nest until they are four weeks old, but the female may start a new clutch immediately. At the end of the nesting season, in August, the birds aggregate in large feeding flocks, moving between nightly roost sites and daily foraging grounds. Migration south begins in mid- to late-September.
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Pollinator

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White-winged doves (Zenaida asiatica) and the saguaro cactus (Carnegeia gigantea) have a well-established relationship. Western white-winged doves (Zenaida asiatica mearnsii) obtain nutrients and water almost exclusively from the saguaro during the doves' breeding season. The doves' migration into the Sonoran Desert coincides with the reproductive cycle of the cactus, which flowers between April and mid-June. While blooming, the white-winged dove visits the flower more frequently then any other avian or bat species. Studies have shown that the white-winged dove carries large pollen loads on its bill, head feathers, crown, cheeks, and chin, and thereby transfers pollen as it moves from flower to flower. The cactus depends on the white-winged dove, as well as bees and bats, for its pollination services, as the saguaro requires cross-pollination to reproduce.
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Zenaida asiatica

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White-winged Doves inhabit brushlands and woodlands or desert scrub and cacti, as well as agricultural fields and residential areas throughout their range. Eastern migratory populations breed in the semi-tropical, thorny woodlands in the states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Veracruz in Mexico and along the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas, USA. They also nest extensively in citrus orchards, accounting in some years for 50-90% of all nesting activity. In Texas, nesting colonies and individuals also rely on residential shade and ornamental trees as nest sites from which they utilize bird feeders and bird baths in town and take feeding forays into nearby agricultural fields. Western White-winged Doves breed in regions of desert scrub and cacti or riparian woodlands throughout Sonora and Baja California in Mexico, and in southeastern Nevada and California, southern Arizona, and western New Mexico, USA. They also utilize citrus groves and residential areas as nesting sites and agricultural fields for feeding grounds. When they migrate south for winter, both populations join resident White-winged Doves in semi-arid regions of thornscrub, deciduous dry forest, cacti forest, savannah, and agricultural and riparian areas with scattered trees.

References

  • Blankinship, D. 1966. The relationships of white-winged dove production to control of great-tailed grackles in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Trans. North Am. Wildl. And Nat. Resour. Conf., 31: 45-58.
  • Blankinship, D. 1970. White-winged dove nesting colonies in northeastern Mexico. Trans. North Am. Wildl. And Nat. Resour. Conf., 35: 171-182.

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White-winged dove

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The white-winged dove (Zenaida asiatica) is a dove whose native range extends from the Southwestern United States through Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. They are large for doves, and can be distinguished from similar doves by the distinctive white edge on their wings. They have a blue eyering, and red eyes. The plumage is brownish-gray to gray. Juveniles are duller in color, and have brown eyes. The call is likened to English phrase "who cooks for you". There are three subspecies. It was first described by George Edwards in 1743, and given its binomial name by Linnaeus in 1756. It was moved into the genus Zenaida in 1838.

They inhabit a variety of environments, including desert, scrub, and urban. Their diet consists mostly of grains, but will also include pollen and nectar, especially from the saguaro cactus, which is a vital source of water.

The expansion of humans has greatly affected the white-winged dove. Prior to human presence, their range closely mirrored that of their favorite food: the saguaro. The advent of agriculture in North America greatly expanded its range by providing a reliable food source. This has also led some modern populations to be migratory. Historically, they nested in enormous colonies, but most colonies have been lost due to human action and climatic factors, and most nesting is now isolated. It is hunted for sport, and is the second most shot game bird in the United States. Its population collapsed in the 1960s and 1970s, likely due to the loss of major nesting colonies. The population rebounded however, and despite continued habitat loss and hunting, it has proved adaptable to human environments. The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers it to be a species of least-concern.

Taxonomy and systematics

Zenaida        

Mourning dove

   

Socorro dove

     

Eared dove

     

Zenaida dove

       

White-winged dove

   

West Peruvian dove

      Cladogram showing the position of the white-winged dove in the genus Zenaida.[2]

The white-winged dove is one of 14 dove species found in North America north of Mexico.[3] The Zenaida doves evolved in South America, and then dispersed into Central and North America.[4]

English naturalist George Edwards included an illustration and a description of the white-winged dove in his A Natural History of Uncommon Birds, which was published in 1743.[5] The dove was also briefly described by Irish physician Patrick Browne in 1756 in his The Civil and Natural History of Jamaica.[6] When in 1758, Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus updated his Systema Naturae for the tenth edition, he placed the white-winged dove with all the other pigeons in the genus Columba. Linnaeus included a brief description, coined the binomial name Columba asiatica, and cited the earlier authors.[7] The type locality is Jamaica.[8] The dove is now placed in the genus Zenaida that was introduced in 1838 by French naturalist Charles Lucien Bonaparte.[9][10]

The West Peruvian dove used to be considered part of the white-winged dove species, but was split off as its own species in 1997 – though together they form a superspecies.[4]

The genus Zenaida was named for Zénaïde Laetitia Julie Princesse Bonaparte, the wife of Charles Lucien Bonaparte.[11]: 414  The specific epithet asiatica means Asiatic, likely meant in reference to the Indies. The naming is erroneous, however, as a mistake of translation. It was intended to refer to Jamaica – in the West Indies, not the Indian subcontinent and its East Indies.[11]: 57 

Subspecies

Three subspecies are recognized:[10]

  • Z. a. asiatica (Linnaeus, 1758) – The nominate subspecies, its breeding range is in the southern US to Nicaragua and the West Indies.[4]
  • Z. a. australis (Peters, 1913) – The breeding range is in western Costa Rica and western Panama. It is smaller than the nominate subspecies, with browner back and wings, and a more red-colored chest. It includes former subspecies Z. a. panamensis.[4] Australis means "southern" in Latin.[11]: 62–63 
  • Z. a. mearnsi (Ridgway, 1915) – The breeding range encompasses the southwestern US and western Mexico, including Baja California. It is larger, paler, and grayer than the nominate subspecies. This subspecies includes the former subspecies Z. a. clara, Z. a. grandis, Z. a. insularis, and Z. a. palustris.[4] It is named after Lt. Col. Edgar Alexander Mearns, an American ornithologist, army surgeon, and bird collector throughout the Americas and Africa.[11]: 244 

Though they are highly variable, some general trends in characteristics may be made based on geography. Eastern birds tend to be paler and grayer, and southern birds tend to be browner and darker. Birds in central Mexico and Texas are the largest, whereas birds in southern Mexico, lower Central America, the Yucatán Peninsula are the smallest.[4]

Description

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In Texas

White-winged doves are a plump, medium-sized bird (large for a dove), at 29 cm (11 in) from tip to tail, and a weight of 150 g (5.3 oz).[12] Wingspan ranges from 18.9 to 22.8 in (48–58 cm).[13] They are brownish-gray above and gray below, with a bold white wing patch that appears as a brilliant white crescent in flight, and is also visible at rest. Adults have a ring of blue, featherless skin around each eye and a long, dark mark on the lower face. They have a blue eye ring and their legs and feet are brighter pink/red. Their eyes are bright crimson, except for juveniles, which have brown eyes. Juveniles are duller and grayer than adults and lack iridescence. Juvenile plumage is usually found between March and October.[12]

Differentiating between sexes is difficult, and usually requires examination of the cloaca. Males do have a more iridescent purple color to the crown, neck, and nape, as well as a more distinctive ear spot, though the differences are slight. Males are usually heavier on average, but differences in daily weight due to feeding make this an inaccurate field tool. Thus, most observers cannot accurately differentiate between sexes based on external characteristics alone.[14]

The identifying hallmark is its namesake white-edged wing, which similar species lack. It appears similar to the mourning dove, with which it may be easily confused. Compared to the mourning dove, it is larger and heavier. It has a short, rounded tail, whereas the mourning dove has a long, tapered, triangular tail. The mourning dove has several black spots on the wing; the white-winged dove does not.[12] Other similar species include the white-tipped dove, but the lack of white wing edging is distinctive. The same goes for the invasive Eurasian collared dove, which is further differentiated by grayish overall color and black neck band.[14]

Their molt is similar to that of the mourning dove. Molting runs June through November, and occurs in the summer breeding grounds unless interrupted by migration.[14]

Vocalizations

David Sibley describes the call as a hhhHEPEP pou poooo, likening it to the English phrase "who cooks for you". They also make a pep pair pooa paair pooa paair pooa call, with the last two words being repeated at length.[12] Males sit on dedicated perches to give their call, which is referred to as a "coo". Calling is most frequent during the breeding season, and peaks in May and June. Most calls are given just before dawn, or in the late afternoon. Females give a slightly softer and more slurred call than males. The purpose of calling is uncertain, but is mainly used for courtship and to defend territory. A shortened version of their song may be used between mates to maintain pair bonds. Nestlings can make noises starting at two days old; by five days old, they can whistle a sur-ee call to beg for food.[4] Additionally, individuals of both genders will use a muted trumpeting errUah call to announce and contest presence on popular preening branches and bird feeders.

Nonvocal sounds include a wing whistle at take-off, which is similar to that of the mourning dove, albeit quieter. Their wing beats are heavy, sounding similar to other pigeons.[12] When leaving cooing perches, males make an exaggerated and noisy flapping of the wings.[4]

Distribution and habitat

Some populations of white-winged doves are migratory, wintering in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. They are year-round inhabitants in Texas. San Antonio, Texas, had a year-round population over a million doves in 2001.[15] The white-winged dove inhabits scrub, woodlands, desert, urban, and cultivated areas.[4] They are found increasingly farther north, now being visitors to most of the United States, and small parts of southern Canada.[12]

In recent years with increasing urbanization and backyard feeding, it has expanded throughout Texas, into Oklahoma, Louisiana, and coastal Mississippi. It has also been introduced to Florida.[4] The white-winged dove is expanding outside its historic range into Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and northern New Mexico. It has been increasingly reported as far north as Canada and Alaska.[16][17] Within Arizona, populations are effectively divided between agricultural and desert groups.[18] It shares its habitat with that of the mourning dove, but the white winged dove will fly higher.[12]

They generally nest at low densities in the desert, but are found in high concentrations near riparian areas. Nesting in riparian zones is referred to as colonial, as opposed to noncolonial behavior in more harsh environments.[3] Such colonies are quite variable, but may be very large. Colony size varies from 5 hectares (0.019 sq mi) to well over a 1,000 hectares (3.9 sq mi). Outside of colonies, nests have a density less than 10 per hectare, but within colonies, 500–1,000 nests are found per hectare.[19]

Before the advent of widespread agriculture, they may not have been widely present in what is now the United States, as evidenced by a lack of fossil remains and absence from the journals of early European explorers. Their presence in California is likely recent, as a result of the manmade filling of the Salton Sea at the turn of the 20th century. The historical range of the dove closely mirrors that of the saguaro cactus, on which it relies heavily for nectar and fruit where it is found. Modern agriculture has greatly expanded their range by providing a reliable source of forage.[3] The urban heat island effect may also enable them to live further north than they otherwise could.[4]

White-winged doves typically migrate into Arizona beginning in March.[3] In California, birds arrive in April and depart by August. Texas migrations run from April through June, peaking in May, and departures run September to October.[4] Migratory groups may include as many as 4,000 individuals,[20] though typically less than 50. A combination of weather, food availability, and hunting pressure can affect the timing of migration.[4] As populations expand in Texas they are becoming less migratory; about 1/3 of birds now overwinter in Texas.[21] Migrations are tracked via traditional banding methods, but the isotope composition of hydrogen and carbon in the feathers can also be used. A 2015 study showed that by tracking the amount of various isotopes, researchers could accurately identify a white-winged doves migration origin. They could also identify if it had been eating from saguaros because of the unique carbon signature that cactus photosynthesis produces.[18]

Behavior and ecology

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Eating large seed in San José, Costa Rica
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Cooing, Monterrey Mexico

Normally, up to 4000 birds are seen migrating, but in Texas, a flock of up to a million birds was recorded. Z. asiatica may fly 25 or more miles to find water, though they can be sustained solely by the water in saguaro cactus fruit.[20]

Breeding and nesting

To impress females, males circle them with tail spread and wings raised, and also fan or flap their tails, or engage in cooing and preening. Males may aggressively defend territory from other males, sparring with wing slaps. Males and females work together in raising the young. The white-winged dove builds a flimsy stick nest in a tree of any kind, and lays two cream-colored to white, unmarked eggs. One chick often hatches earlier and stronger, so will demand the most food from the parents. A dove may nest as soon as 2–3 months after leaving the nest, making use of summer heat. The dove nests as long as food and enough warmth are available to keep fledglings warm. In Texas, they nest well into late August.[22] Families and nestmates often stay together for life, perching and foraging together.[23] They return to the same nesting site year after year, sometimes rebuilding a nest in the exact location it was the year before.[19]

They have better nesting success when in mesquite or tamarix trees. Breeding occurs in two peaks in the summer, although the timing of their breeding varies by year. The peak breeding times for these desert doves occur from May–June to July–August. Breeding in urban areas also occurs in two peaks, but may be somewhat offset in timing compared to the desert birds. Eggs are relatively small compared to body weight, as white-winged doves invest more energy in feeding altricial young instead of laying large eggs that would enable precocial young.[24] Males attend to the nest for the majority of the day, except for foraging breaks during the midmorning and late afternoon while the female watches the nest. At night, females watch the nest, and the male roosts nearby.[21] Juvenile feathers begin to replace the natal down by seven days old. The pre-juvenile molt is complete around 30 days old.[14] By early September, most of the adult birds have already begun the migration south. The young leave soon after.[3]

Feeding

White-winged doves are granivorous, feeding on a variety of seeds, grains, and fruits. Western white-winged doves (Z. a. mearnsii) migrate into the Sonoran Desert to breed during the hottest time of the year because they feed on pollen and nectar, and later on the fruits and seeds of the saguaro. They also visit feeders, eating the food dropped on the ground. Unlike mourning doves, they eat corn and wheat right off the head.[4] This gregarious species can be an agricultural pest, descending on grain crops in large flocks.

White-winged doves have been found to practice collaborative feeding. Observations in Texas revealed that some birds were shaking seeds from a Chinese tallow tree for the benefit of those on the ground. Doves may represent a vector to spread the invasive Chinese tallow tree, by defecating undigested seeds.[25]

Agricultural fields, especially cereal grains, are a major source of forage, but they provide less protein content, which limits productivity. Having access to significant amounts of native seed is important to ensure that nestlings fledge and are healthy. This is made even more critical because white-winged doves do not supplement their diet with insects while raising young, unlike many other grain-eating birds.[24]

Survival

White-winged doves are subjected to the usual arid-land predators, including foxes, bobcats, snakes, and coyotes. Aerial predators include owls and hawks. Domestic cats and dogs also take doves.[16]

The oldest recorded wild individual lived to 21 years and 9 months, though the typical lifespan is closer to 10 or 15 years. In captivity, they have been recorded to live up to 25 years.[16]

In culture

White-winged doves are popular as game birds for hunting. They are the only North American game species that is also a migratory pollinator.[26] Hunting of the species peaked in the late 1960s, with an annual take around 740,000 birds in Arizona. That has since fallen; in 2008 just under 80,000 birds were taken in Arizona. The national take is larger, 1.6 million were hunted in 2011, with Texas taking 1.3 million. Most of the hunted birds are juveniles, averaging about 63% of the catch. Large numbers of birds were taken prior to the 1970s, when falling populations led to a tightening of hunting laws. In the 1960s, hunters could legally take up to 25 birds per day in Arizona over a three-week season. The Arizona dove season has since been restricted to two weeks and six birds per day, with shooting only allowed for half of each day.[3] The bag limit in Texas is four birds per day, but the Texas catch remains the largest of any state.[27]

They are also popular among birders and photographers. People in many areas provide feeding stations and water in backyards to attract them for observation.[3]

The Stevie Nicks song "Edge of Seventeen" features a white-winged dove.[16]

Status

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has tracked the population of these doves for decades. The United States population peaked in 1968, but fell precipitously in the 1970s. The decline is likely due to loss of large nesting colonies in the 1960s and 1970s from habitat destruction, shifts in agricultural trends, and over-hunting. The population has continued to decline despite tougher hunting laws. Its population and range in Arizona has sharply contracted, though its range continues to expand in Texas. Though it is the second-most shot-hunted bird in the United States, it remains poorly studied, especially in California and Florida, as well as in Mexico.[3][27]

Lead poisoning, especially in hunting areas, poses a significant risk to white-winged dove health. A 2010 Texas study found that 66% of doves had elevated lead levels. The study noted that birds with lethal concentrations of lead were not found because accidental ingestion of lead shot can kill birds in just two days, and that they are incapacitated before that point, meaning that such birds died before they could be collected by researchers.[28]

Climate change is expected to expand their range to the north, but will also threaten populations with increased drought and fire, which destroy habitat, and spring heatwaves, which can kill young in the nest.[29]

Colonial nesting sites in Mexico have seen significant losses. The main causes were brush clearing to make way for agricultural or urban development (leading to habitat loss), extreme weather such as droughts and hurricanes, and over-hunting. The population in Mexico followed the trend of American populations. In the 1970s, only a million birds were in northeastern Mexico, compared to a rebound of 16 million in the 1980s, and five million in 2007. Habitat fragmentation is of great concern to the species, especially due to the preference for returning to the same large colonies year after year. Due to continued pressures, large nesting colonies are now mainly gone, and are not expected to return. Despite this, the white-winged dove has proved adaptable to human disturbance, and is regarded as a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.[1][19]

Gallery

References

  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2016). "Zenaida asiatica". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22733956A95231875. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22733956A95231875.en. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  2. ^ Banks, R.C.; Weckstein, J.D.; Remsen Jr, J.V.; Johnson, K.P. (2013). "Classification of a clade of New World doves (Columbidae: Zenaidini)". Zootaxa. 3669 (2): 184–188. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.3669.2.11. PMID 26312335.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Rabe, Michael J. (June 2009). Sanders, Todd A. (ed.). "Mourning Dove, White-winged Dove, and Band-tailed Pigeon: 2009 population status" (PDF). Laurel, Maryland: United States Fish and Wildlife Service. pp. 25–32. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Schwertner, T. W.; Mathewson, H. A.; Roberson, J. A.; Waggerman, G.L. (March 4, 2020). Poole, A.F.; Gill, F. B. (eds.). "White-winged Dove - Zenaida asiatica - Birds of the World Online". birdsoftheworld.org. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. doi:10.2173/bow.whwdov.01. S2CID 216417860. Retrieved 2020-04-19.
  5. ^ Edwards, George (1743). A Natural History of Uncommon Birds. London: Printed for the author, at the College of Physicians. p. 76, Plate 76.
  6. ^ Browne, Patrick (1756). The Civil and Natural History of Jamaica. London: Printed for the author, and sold by T. Osborne and J. Shipton. p. 468.
  7. ^ Linnaeus, Carl (1758). Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Vol. 1 (10th ed.). Holmiae:Laurentii Salvii. p. 163.
  8. ^ Peters, James Lee, ed. (1937). Check-List of Birds of the World. Vol. 3. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 87.
  9. ^ Bonaparte, Charles Lucian (1838). A Geographical and Comparative List of the Birds of Europe and North America. London: John Van Voorst. p. 41.
  10. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (2020). "Pigeons". IOC World Bird List Version 10.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d Jobling, James A. (2010). Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names (PDF). London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4. S2CID 82496461. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 August 2019. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Sibley, David, 1961- (2014). The Sibley guide to birds. Scott & Nix (Firm) (Second ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-307-95790-0. OCLC 869807502.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ "White-winged Dove Identification, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology". www.allaboutbirds.org. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  14. ^ a b c d Fredricks, Timothy B.; Fedynich, Alan M.; Benn, Steve J. (June 2010). "Evaluation of a New Technique for Determining Sex of Adult White-Winged Doves (Zenaida asiatica)". The Southwestern Naturalist. 55 (2): 225–228. doi:10.1894/MH-35.1. ISSN 0038-4909. S2CID 86316277.
  15. ^ "White-winged Dove", Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Texas A&M University, retrieved March 7, 2015
  16. ^ a b c d "White-winged Dove Overview, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology". www.allaboutbirds.org. Retrieved 2020-04-17.
  17. ^ "Featured pollinators". US Fish & Wildlife Service. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
  18. ^ a b Carleton, Scott; Rio, Carlos; Robinson, Timothy (2015-08-01). "Feather isotope analysis reveals differential patterns of habitat and resource use in populations of white‐winged doves". The Journal of Wildlife Management. 79 (6): 948–956. doi:10.1002/jwmg.916.
  19. ^ a b c Johnson, Yara Sánchez; Hernández, Fidel; Hewitt, David G.; Redeker, Eric J.; Waggerman, Gary L.; Meléndez, Heriberto Ortega; Treviño, Héctor V. Zamora; Roberson, Jay A. (2009). "Status of White-Winged Dove Nesting Colonies in Tamaulipas, México". The Wilson Journal of Ornithology. 121 (2): 338–346. doi:10.1676/08-054.1. ISSN 1559-4491. JSTOR 20616905. S2CID 86417025.
  20. ^ a b "White-Winged Dove Fact Sheet". www.desertmuseum.org. Retrieved 2020-04-17.
  21. ^ a b Small, Michael F.; Taylor, Emariana S.; Baccus, John T.; Schaefer, Cynthia L.; Simpson, Thomas R.; Roberson, Jay A. (2007). "Nesting Home Range and Movements of an Urban White-Winged Dove Population". The Wilson Journal of Ornithology. 119 (3): 467–471. doi:10.1676/05-132.1. ISSN 1559-4491. JSTOR 20456034. S2CID 85703050.
  22. ^ Kropp, Robin. "Zenaida asiatica (white-winged dove)". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 2020-07-22.
  23. ^ https://www.desertmuseum.org/kids/oz/long-fact-sheets/white-winged%20dove.php#:~:text=They%20are%20found%20in%20all,in%20the%20crotches%20of%20saguaro.
  24. ^ a b Pruitt, Kenneth D.; Hewitt, David G.; Silvy, Nova J.; Benn, Steve (2008). "Importance of Native Seeds in White-Winged Dove Diets Dominated by Agricultural Grains". The Journal of Wildlife Management. 72 (2): 433–439. doi:10.2193/2006-436. ISSN 0022-541X. JSTOR 25097558. S2CID 84765739.
  25. ^ Colson, William; Fedynich, Alan (June 2016). "Observations of unusual feeding behavior of white-winged dove on Chinese tallow". The Southwestern Naturalist. 61 (2): 133–135. doi:10.1894/0038-4909-61.2.133. ISSN 0038-4909. S2CID 89308337.
  26. ^ "White-winged Dove". www.fws.gov. Retrieved 2020-04-17.
  27. ^ a b Collier, Bret A.; Kremer, Shelly R.; Mason, Corey D.; Peterson, Markus J.; Calhoun, Kirby W. (2012). "Survival, fidelity, and recovery rates of white-winged doves in Texas". The Journal of Wildlife Management. 76 (6): 1129–1134. doi:10.1002/jwmg.371. ISSN 1937-2817.
  28. ^ Fedynich, Alan M.; Fredricks, Timothy B.; Benn, Steve (2010-09-01). "Lead Concentrations of White-winged Doves, Zenaida asiatica L., Collected in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, USA". Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. 85 (3): 344–347. doi:10.1007/s00128-010-0072-3. ISSN 1432-0800. PMID 20686750. S2CID 6966777.
  29. ^ "White-winged Dove". Audubon. 2014-11-13. Retrieved 2020-04-17.
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White-winged dove: Brief Summary

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The white-winged dove (Zenaida asiatica) is a dove whose native range extends from the Southwestern United States through Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. They are large for doves, and can be distinguished from similar doves by the distinctive white edge on their wings. They have a blue eyering, and red eyes. The plumage is brownish-gray to gray. Juveniles are duller in color, and have brown eyes. The call is likened to English phrase "who cooks for you". There are three subspecies. It was first described by George Edwards in 1743, and given its binomial name by Linnaeus in 1756. It was moved into the genus Zenaida in 1838.

They inhabit a variety of environments, including desert, scrub, and urban. Their diet consists mostly of grains, but will also include pollen and nectar, especially from the saguaro cactus, which is a vital source of water.

The expansion of humans has greatly affected the white-winged dove. Prior to human presence, their range closely mirrored that of their favorite food: the saguaro. The advent of agriculture in North America greatly expanded its range by providing a reliable food source. This has also led some modern populations to be migratory. Historically, they nested in enormous colonies, but most colonies have been lost due to human action and climatic factors, and most nesting is now isolated. It is hunted for sport, and is the second most shot game bird in the United States. Its population collapsed in the 1960s and 1970s, likely due to the loss of major nesting colonies. The population rebounded however, and despite continued habitat loss and hunting, it has proved adaptable to human environments. The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers it to be a species of least-concern.

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