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There seems to be a problem in North America: too many doves look alike! :)

So the solution? Your very own dove identification chart:

Dove Dilemma

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. 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!

MournDove_ChristianeDornbusch_IL10.gif EurasianCollaredDove_PaulDianeJamesson_FL09.gif
Mourning Dove
Christiane Dornbusch, IL

Keys to ID:

Length: 12 inches

Black spots on wings

Slender body

Long pointed tail

Eurasian Collared-Dove
Paul & Diane Jamesson, FL

Keys to ID:

Length: 13 inches

Black band on nape of neck

Heavier than Mourning Dove

Square tail

CommGroundDove_CameronRognan_CLO.gif WhiteWingedDove_RichardLee_TX10.gif
Common Ground Dove
Cameron Rognan, Cornell Lab

Keys to ID:

Length: 6.5 inches

Scalloped feathers at nape

Short neck, stubby wings

Compact body, short tail

White-winged Dove
Teri Zambon, TX

Keys to ID:

Length: 11.5 inches

White strip on edge of folded wing

Plain back, no spots

Shorter tail than Mourning Dove

IncaDove_TimSpringer_TX10.gif WhiteTippedDove_DarrinOBrieb_TX08.gif
Inca Dove
Tim Springer, TX

Keys to ID:

Length: 8.5 inches

Scalloped feathers with scaly pattern

Small but long tailed

Tail edged with white

White-tipped Dove
Darrin O’Brien, TX

Keys to ID:

Length: 11.5 inches

Pale face and underparts

Short tail and short, broad wings

South Texas only

(The above info and photos are from: http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/learning/trickyIDs/dove-dilemma.)

Now you wouldn’t find it hard to identify these doves:

The World’s Most Beautiful and Colorful Doves

Jun 10th, 2009 by BrenNolasco

Here are the 15 most colorful and prettiest doves in the world.

Doves and pigeons belong to family columbidae and are used interchangeably. In ornithological practice, dove is used for smaller species while pigeon is for larger ones. Here are the 15 most colorful and prettiest doves in the world.

1. Orange Dove (Ptilinopus victor)

The attractive Orange Dove is a one of the most colorful doves. This lovely bird is distributed and native to the islands in the Pacific like Fiji, Vanua Levu, Laucala, Oamea, Rabi and Taveuni. It is also commonly known as Flame Dove

2. Pink-headed Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus porphyreus)

The small but colorful Pink-headed Fruit-dove is a resident breeding native bird in Indonesia. It inhabits the mountain forests of Bali, Java and Sumatra. It is a shy and inconspicuous species. It is also informally known as Pink-necked Fruit-dove or Temminck’s Fruit Pigeon.

3. Jambu Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus jambu)

The colorful Jambu Fruit-dove is a resident breeding bird in the islands of Kalimantan, Java and Sumatra in Indonesia including Brunei, Malaysia and Thailand. This species occurs in mangrove swamps and lowland rainforests up to 1,500 m and is also found in second growth woodland.

4. White-bellied Green Pigeon (Treron sieboldii)

The beautiful White-bellied Green-pigeon’s natural habitat is temperate forests. It can be found in Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

5. Ruddy Cuckoo Dove (Macropygia emiliana)

File:Macropygia emiliana (Ruddy Cuckoo Dove)8.jpg

The uniquely colored Ruddy Cuckoo-dove is a bird that can be found in Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. It is a species of bird in the columbidae family.

6. Beautiful Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus pulchellus)

The Beautiful Fruit-dove found on the rainforest of New Guinea is 19 cm (7½ in) long. It can also be found in the islands of Batanta, Salawati, Waigeo and Misool and West Papua in Indonesia. It is also colloquially known as the Rose-fronted Pigeon or Crimson-capped Fruit-dove.

7. Brush Bronzewing (Phaps elegans)

The Brush Bronzewing is native to the ‘land down under – Australia’ and its natural habitat is tropical and subtropical dry forests.

8. Many-colored Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus perousii)

The Many-colored Fruit-dove can be found in south-west Pacific Ocean specifically on the islands of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. It occurs in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. Its favorite fruit is fig.

9. Thick-billed Green-pigeon (Treron curvirostra)

The Thick-billed Green-pigeon is a colorful bird that can be found in South and Southeast Asia. Its natural habitats are tropical and subtropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical mangrove forests of the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It can also be found in Bhutan, China, Hong Kong India and Nepal.

10. Coroneted Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus coronulatus)

File:Ptilinopus coronulatus -Central Park Zoo-8a.jpg
The Coroneted Fruit-dove of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea inhabits subtropical or tropical dry forests and subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

11. Common Bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera)

The Common Bronzewing is endemic to Australia one of its most common pigeons. It is able to live in almost any habitat, with the possible exception of very barren areas and dense rainforests. On the average, it reaches between 30–36 cm or 12–14 inches in length.

12. Superb Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus superbus)

The colorful and medium-sized Superb Fruit-dove grows up to 24 cm long. Males are more colorful than females but both sexes have yellow eyes and eye-rings. Other Common names of this species is Purple-crowned Fruit-dove.

13. Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica)

The Emerald Dove of South Asia specifically Pakistan and Sri Lanka builds a scant stick nest in a tree of up to 5 meters. This lovely-looking dove is also informally known by the names of Green Dove and Green-winged pigeon.

14. Mariana Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus roseicapilla)

The Mariana Fruit-dove is endemic to the Pacific islands of Guam and the Northern Marianas. This small but colorful dove grows up to 24 cm long. Its diet consists mainly of fruits and is also known locally as Mwee’mwe in the Carolinian language, Totot on Guam or Paluman Totut in Northern Mariana Islands.

15. Rose Crowned Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus regina)

The medium-sized Rose-crowned Fruit-dove of Australia occurs in lowland rainforests and monsoon forests. It can be found also in Lesser Sunda Islands and Maluku Islands of Indonesia. It is also commonly known as Pink-capped Fruit-dove or Swainson’s Fruit-dove.

I hope you have had a wonderful time reading this. Thanks!

(From: http://www.bukisa.com/articles/107387_the-worlds-most-beautiful-and-colorful-doves#ixzz1GEOXYULC)


I have a soft spot for Australia since I spent the first 7 years of my life there. I don’t remember ever really noticing the pigeons there (pigeons came into my consciousness after we had moved to Finland – I loved watching them bobbing up and down the street), and I cannot say that I would have realised (at that age) that the Australian species are indeed pigeons – they are so different looking. Here are a few examples:

Spinifex pigeon. Photo from: Lee's Birdwatching Adventures Plus (click on photo to go to website)

Crested pigeon

Common bronzewing

Pied Imperial pigeon

Amazingly beautiful!! More Australian pigeons can be found at:

Australian Pigeons, Doves and Photos of Australian Pigeons & Doves

I’m not one for bird watching in the true hobby sense – I’m just an occassional observer – but I think I would be up for a round-the-world trip of pigeon watching! There are just so many beautiful pigeon species in the world – just have a look through this website: Pigeons and Doves of the World. Sadly, many are threatened with extinction – and tragically many are already extinct. (More on extinction later.)