White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica


This large, semitropical dove ranges from the southernmost U.S. and Mexico (where it is partially migratory) south through Central America and much of the West Indies. The majority of White-winged Doves are seasonally migratory. They overwinter in Mexico and Central America and come to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico in April to breed, departing again in September. Some will overwinter in their breeding range, especially in residential areas where food remains available. In the southern parts of their range, they are year-round residents. In the United States, the White-winged Dove occurred historically only in the southern regions of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Prior to the 1980s, its area of greatest abundance and density was the lower Rio Grande valley of South Texas, where it was a popular game species. Since that time, however, the species has expanded its range north-ward and can now be found breeding throughout much of the southern United States, as far north as Oklahoma. A growing human population in the southern United States during the final decades of the twentieth century brought increased agriculture and ornamental trees, providing additional feeding and nesting habitat for the species and perhaps contributing to its northward expansion. In the West Indies this species range is expanding eastward. Currently, a common year-round in much of the Greater Antillies. Resident in the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Grand Cayman, San Andres and Providencia. White-winged Doves can have a negative impact on the agricultural economies within their range. They do not wait for harvest or ripe grain to fall, but instead perch upon stalks of sunflower or sorghum and eat the developing seeds. They aggregate in large flocks of sometimes thousands of birds, descend upon a single field of grain, and decimate it. For this reason they are known as “la plaga” (the plague) among many farmers in Mexico.

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© Geoffrey A. Keller

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/whwdov