Bird of the Week: White-winged Dove

White-winged Dove, David Blinder

White-winged Dove

The White-winged Dove is one of our most ubiquitous native birds. Closely related to the more cosmopolitan Mourning Dove, the White-winged Dove is most common in the American Southwest (though its range is expanding northward). In central Texas, White-winged Doves are habitat and dietary generalists, living almost anywhere and eating almost anything. In other parts of their range, however, these birds are much pickier: in the Sonora desert of Arizona, they are so reliant on the fruit of saguaro cactus that they time their migration according to its fruiting cycle. The next time you see White-winged Doves in flight, look for a distinctive flight pattern: two doves leading a third a short distance behind. What you are seeing is actually an avian love triangle: the couple in front is being followed by a jilted male!

Compiled by Owen Moorhead. Sources include the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society.