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White-tipped Dove

A medium-sized dove species with a brownish-gray plumage, a distinctive white-tipped tail, and a preference for forested habitats in Central and South America, including the Amazon basin. It is known for its low-pitched, mournful call and is a popular game bird in some regions.

The tropical and sub-tropical White-tipped Dove reaches the northern extent of its range in Texas. In more southerly areas, White-tipped Doves breed all year, but in Texas they breed in spring and summer as most other bird species do.

White-tipped Doves seldom fly, instead spending most of their time on the ground. They also rarely gather in flocks, and are usually seen singly or in pairs. In fact, they are rather aggressive toward other White-tipped Doves, and frequently chase them away.

Photograph © Greg Lavaty

Description of the White-tipped Dove

BREEDING MALE

White-Tipped Dove

Photograph © Greg Lavaty

The White-tipped Dove is large and chunky, with brown upperparts, a whitish forehead and face, reddish legs, and small, white outer tips to the tail feathers that are visible in flight.

Female

Female White-Tipped Dove

Photograph © Greg Lavaty

Sexes similar.

Seasonal change in appearance

None.

Juvenile

Similar to adults.

Habitat

Woodlands and riparian areas.

Diet

Seeds and berries.

Behavior

Forages on the ground or in low trees.

Range

Resident in south Texas and Mexico as well as Central and South America.

Fun Facts

Parents swallow the droppings of their young, making their nests much cleaner than the nests of other doves.

White-tipped Doves can breed nearly year-round.

Vocalizations

The call resembles the sound of blowing across the top of a glass bottle.

Similar Species

  • White-winged Doves have large white wing patches, and Mourning Doves have pointed tails with extensively white outer edges.

Nesting

The nest is a platform of sticks placed in a tree.

Number: 2.
Color: Buff.

Incubation and fledging:  
– Young hatch at 14 days.
– Young fledge (leave the nest) in 12-15 days after hatching but remain with the adults for some time.

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of Birdzilla.com. He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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