Fun Dove Facts For Kids

Akinwalere Olaleye
Feb 16, 2024 By Akinwalere Olaleye
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Natalie Rayworth
Fact-checked by Chandan Shukla
Read these dove facts to know more about this beautiful bird.

With a population as large as 475 million across the world, the mourning doves are widely recognized members of the family Columbidae. Often symbolized with peace, love, elegance, and grace, this bird species is quite popular for their mourning calls.

The vocals of this North American bird resembles a melancholic lullaby. When it comes to eating habits, doves have an omnivorous diet. This means doves eat seeds, fruit, plants and they occasionally eat insects, earthworms, and snails.

Doves belong to the family Columbidae, which is the same family as a pigeon. While a dove and pigeon might look similar in appearance, a pigeon is a sturdier and stronger bird when compared to a dove.

Doves are known to be extremely robust fliers, with the species rock dove (pigeon) known to have a flight speed of around 95 mph (152 kmph).

Learn about the habits, appearance, and other amazing facts about these members of the bird species. You may also look at birds of paradise facts and barn owl facts for more information.

Dove Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a dove?

Doves are a group of birds that are categorized, along with the pigeon species, under the family Columbidae. Dove are smaller-sized birds, however, the name is used interchangeably with pigeons.

Doves eat an omnivore diet that comprises of plants, seeds and fruits as well as snails and earthworms. This bird species is known for being able to fly very well.

What class of animal does a dove belong to?

Mourning doves belong to class Aves; that is a group of organisms which are characterized by the presence of feathers. Their forelimbs are also modified into wings, however, not all Aves can fly.

How many doves are there in the world?

According to available data, the total population of the mourning bird is thought to be around 475 million and increasing.

Where does a dove live?

Mourning doves are distributed over a wide range of habitats. These doves can be located in the geographical terrains of  Greater Antilles, Continental United States, the Atlantic and southern Canada.

What is a dove's habitat?

Mourning doves are quite adaptable and can easily keep up with changing agricultural habitations. This bird can be easily spotted in forest regions, grasslands, fields as well as near open woodland areas.

However, large populations of the mourning bird are observed to be common inhabitants of agricultural and suburban regions. They also tend to be found wherever the find it easier to hunt for food (seeds, fruits and insects) as eating is important to this bird species.

Who do doves live with?

Doves can be found living among other bird species in trees where they can build their nest and get access to food.

How long does a dove live?

The average lifespan of mourning doves is known to range between one to five years in the wild or up to 19 years in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

While breeding, this bird is monogamous. Meaning, they will only mate with one partner throughout the breeding season.

The courting ritual in the dove bird includes vocal representations. Following the selection of partners at the start of the breeding season, these birds establish their territories and defend them from any other invaders.

After the male and female mate successfully while breeding, the female will lay around two eggs which hatch after a time span of 15 days. Both the parents stay together to take care of the eggs.

After the eggs hatch, the hatchlings stay within the nest for a maximum of 30 days, till they are capable of their first flight. According to studies, this species of the Dove family is known to possess the longest breeding season among the North-American birds, however, it is also very similar to the breeding patterns of other birds.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN’s (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List, mourning doves have been categorized under the conservation status of Least Concerned Species.

Dove Fun Facts

What do doves look like?

Doves show prominent variation in their sizes. However, the fundamental characterization includes the presence of a small head, short and fleshy beak or rostrum, short legs, and a large compact body.

The plumage of doves is highly variable, ranging from dull shades to the brightest coloring, as found in fruit doves (Ptilinopus). Mourning doves are medium-sized members of the dove family.

They possess a sylphlike body with dorsal plumage of greyish blue or brown, while the bottom region of these birds is generally lighter in color with shades of pink.

The broad elliptical wings of mourning doves are tinged with black spots, and the feathers in the tail are in shades of white. The streamlined body of these birds is adorned with a small rounded head, tapered and long tails, small reddish legs, and tiny beaks with dark shades of black-brown.

A dove has wings in different colors ranging from light pink, grey and white.

How cute are they?

Mourning doves, with their coloring and vibrant plumage, are quite elegant sights to behold. These memorable doves are quite unique when compared to other groups of birds.

How do they communicate?

The communication of these birds include various bodily displays, as well as vocal and visual receptions. The anatomical features are generally used to scare away invaders or for attracting mate.

The vocal parade by mourning doves is another way of communication among the species and includes several calls such as nest calls, greeting calls and alarm calls. The "cooOOoo-woo-woo-woooo" sounds are known to be produced by the members of this species. Mourning doves also emit a fluttery whistling sound during their flight.

How big is a dove?

Mourning doves are medium-sized birds. The average length in these birds ranges between 9-14.2 in (22-36 cm).

How fast can a dove fly?

With the anatomical design of broad elliptical wings and long pointed tails, mourning doves are famous and known for being the fastest flying members of the dove species. These birds are known to travel at an average speed of about 50 mph (80 kmph).

How much does a dove weigh?

The average weight of mourning doves ranges between 0.02-0.07 lb (0.92–1.41 oz). Exhibiting sexual dimorphism, males are known to be heavier and larger than their female counterparts.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male members of the mourning dove species are referred to as 'cock', while females are referred to as a 'hen'.

What would you call a baby dove?

The babies of mourning doves are known as squabs, squeakers, offspring or juveniles.

What do they eat?

Mourning doves are omnivores. The majority of their diet includes food products like grains, seeds, and grass. Fruits, safflower seeds, rapeseed, oats, corn, sweetgum seeds and millet are some of the common food products constituting the diet of these birds. Occasionally, mourning doves are also known to feed on earthworms and snails as well.  

Are they dangerous?

No, in general, mourning doves are not a dangerous species. Though these birds may show aggressive behavior while protecting their territories, or while competing for female attention during the breeding season. As for their behaviors around human beings, mourning doves are alert and may unnerve easily.

Would they make a good pet?

Belonging to the category of the gentle, calm, and rarely aggressive group of birds, the mourning dove is commonly domesticated and often observed in residential areas. These birds easily adapt to their surroundings and are quite independent groups of birds with minimal contact requirements.

However, with proper training, they bond easily. Clean and large areas, healthy diets of mostly grain and seeds, and optimal warm temperature are some of the essentials for the domestication of mourning birds.

Did you know...

Like other members belonging to Aves, mourning doves also possess additional chambers in their digestive systems. However, in the case of mourning doves, these birds do not instantly eat all the seeds they feed on. Instead, the ingested seeds are stored in the crop (the enlarged portion of the esophagus) of the morning doves to grasp and digest later.

Zenaida macroura carolinensis (commonly known as the Eastern mourning dove) holds the prestigious designation of Wisconsin, as well as Michigan's official symbol of peace.

Besides the basic symbolization, the presence of mourning doves can also be traced in the artistic work of a number of artists such as Robert Bly, Charles Wright, Lorine Niedecker, and Jared Carter.

Are doves the same as pigeons?

Little scientific difference is known to exist between Dove and pigeons. The major noticeable difference observed between these species is the variation in size.

While pigeons are generally known to be of larger stature, doves are smaller members of the bird family. Besides the size, there are no scientifically established differences between the two. In fact, the names are often used interchangeably, worldwide.

What does a dove symbolize?

Doves are graced with prominent symbolism worldwide. Besides finding notable consideration in various cultures such as Christianity, Paganism, Islam, and Judaism, doves hold symbolic appearance in both the military and pacifist groups.

These fascinating birds are considered the basic representatives of peace, sacredness, purity, devotion, hope,  faith, beauty, and gentleness.

However, these symbolisms diversify with geographical regions and culture. In fact, according to several cultural reasoning, spotting a dove totem is regarded as highly spiritual as these birds are recognized to be the messenger of God, they allocate the message that no matter the happenings, fear will lose and peace will eventually follow.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including secretary bird, or great green macaw.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Dove coloring pages.

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Written by Akinwalere Olaleye

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Akinwalere Olaleye picture

Akinwalere OlaleyeBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

As a highly motivated, detail-oriented, and energetic individual, Olaleye's expertise lies in administrative and management operations. With extensive knowledge as an Editor and Communications Analyst, Olaleye excels in editing, writing, and media relations. Her commitment to upholding professional ethics and driving organizational growth sets her apart. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Benin, Edo State. 

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Fact-checked by Chandan Shukla

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

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Chandan ShuklaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

With a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Aryabhatta College, University of Delhi, Chandan is a skilled and passionate technophile. He has completed a machine learning training program and is adept in various programming languages. He has been working as a content writer for two years while also striving to become a proficient tech professional.

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