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Pigeons and Doves

Pigeons Of North America

Seven native species of pigeons occur regularly in North America. The most widespread of these is the mourning dove (Zenaidura macroura), named after its loud, soulful cooings. This species occurs widely south of the boreal forest. The mourning dove is migratory in the northern parts of its range, although suburban birds can manage to survive the winter if they have access to dependable food at feeders.

All other native pigeons are relatively southern in their distribution. The band-tailed pigeon (Columba fasciata) and white-winged dove (Zenaida asiatica) are southwestern in distribution, while the ground dove (Columbigallina passerina) also occurs in the southeast. The white-crowned pigeon (Columba leucocephala) only occurs in the Florida Keys and a few places on the immediately adjacent mainland.

Wherever these native pigeons are abundant, they may be hunted for sport. One North American species, the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), was driven into extinction as a result of overhunting for sale in urban markets.

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