Animal Fact Sheet: White-winged dove

Identifying Features

This is a light gray/brown bird with a white area on the wing. When the wings are folded, this area looks like a white stripe on the leading edge of the wing.


These birds can fly 25 or more miles to find water. In the Sonoran Desert, they are able to obtain needed moisture from saguaro cactus fruit. When migrating they can travel in groups of up to 4000 birds to nesting sites.


They are found in all desert habitats. In the Sonoran Desert they nest in mesquite, oak woods, in large shrubs, cholla cactus, and in the crotches of saguaro.


In North America it ranges from parts of Canada south through areas of the United States and into Mexico. It is also found in Central and South America as well in Puerto Rico.

Wild Status

They are not threatened or endangered in the wild. At this time their status is good.


White-winged doves eat seeds from desert willow trees, ocotillo, agave, as well as fruit from saguaro, organ-pipe and other cacti. They also sip nectar from saguaro cactus fruit.


Predators include fox, coyote, owls, hawks, bobcats, snakes and domestic animals such as house cats and domestic dogs.


A female will select a location to build a nest such as a tangle of vines, clump of cactus or a tree limb. She then builds a nest out of sticks that the male bird will bring to her. On occasion they use an old nest from a previous year, or they will reuse a nest from another bird.

Life Span

In a zoological setting, one dove was know to have lived 25 years. In the wild they don't live as long, only 10-15 years.


They can reach a length of 11-12.5 inches long and weigh about 5 oz.

Quick Facts


Compare with the Common Bronzewing of the Australian Desert.

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