Beak of the Week – White-winged Dove

White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica)
Family: Columbidae

“Who cooks for you?”

Though the Barred Owl has made this phrase famous in the bird world, the call of the White-winged Dove also fits this same rhythm – albeit at a bit higher pitch.
In large parts of its breeding range in the desert southwest, the White-winged Dove is known to help pollinate saguaro cactuses. In Southeast Texas and east along the Gulf Coast to Florida, the White-winged Dove has adapted well to residence year-round in urban areas and can be seen frequenting local parks and visiting feeders.
The White-winged Dove is light grayish-brown overall, with a dark patch on the sides of its neck. Striking large white patches in its wings and white corners to its rounded tail are readily visible in flight. When seen perched, the White-winged Dove’s white wing patches are visible only as a white strip on the lower edge of the wings. 
If seen closely, the White-winged Dove’s red eyes and surrounding blueish patch are helpful for identification. While it is similar to the more familiar and widespread Mourning Dove, the White-winged Dove’s namesake white wing patches and shorter tail readily set it apart.

By Aidan Healey, Conservation Technician, Houston Audubon
Photos by Greg Lavaty
Check out our Bird Gallery to learn about other Texas birds. 

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