Learn About Birds

Identifying Doves

The half-dozen most common doves in North America have a certain sameness about them–they tend to be grayish-brown with small heads, pointed bills, and pinkish feet. But they do have key distinguishing features that will help you nail the correct ID. Study the keys to identifcation below and the maps showing where each species was reported during the 2010 GBBC. You can also learn more about each bird in our online bird guide by clicking on its name. With a little effort you’ll solve the dove dilemma!

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove
by Christiane Dornbusch

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Eurasian Collared-Dove
by Paul & Diane Jamesson

Keys to ID:

Length: 12 inches

Black spots on wings

Slender body

Long pointed tail

Keys to ID:

Length: 13 inches

Black band on nape of neck

Heavier than Mourning Dove

Square tail

Common Ground Dove

Common Ground Dove
by Cameron Rognan

White-winged Dove

White-winged Dove
by Teri Zambon

Keys to ID:

Length: 6.5 inches

Scalloped feathers at nape

Short neck, stubby wings

Compact body, short tail

Keys to ID:

Length: 11.5 inches

White strip on edge of folded wing

Plain back, no spots

Shorter tail than Mourning Dove

Inca Dove

Inca Dove
by Tim springer

White-tipped Dove

White-tipped Dove
by Darrin O’Brien

Keys to ID:

Length: 8.5 inches

Scalloped feathers with scaly pattern

Small but long tailed

Tail edged with white

Keys to ID:

Length: 11.5 inches

Pale face and underparts

Short tail and short, broad wings

South Texas only