5 astounding doves in Colorado

Colorado, the breathtaking state nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, is renowned for its majestic landscapes and abundant wildlife. Among the remarkable creatures that grace this captivating region are the 5 astounding doves in colorada , an avian family known for their elegance and grace. In Colorado’s diverse ecosystems, five astounding dove species have found their home, each adorned with unique colors and endowed with fascinating behaviors. 

From the enchanting Mourning Dove to the vibrant Band-tailed Dove, these feathered wonders are a testament to the natural wonders that await those who venture into Colorado’s wild expanses. Join us on a journey to discover these five awe-inspiring doves in Colorado that paint the Colorado skies with their vibrant plumage and captivating presence.

Best practices and tips to observe 5 astounding doves in Colorado:

  • Research and Familiarize Yourself: Before heading out to observe doves, take some time to research each species. Learn about their physical characteristics, preferred habitats, behaviour, and vocalizations. This knowledge will help you identify them more easily in the field.
  • Choose the Right Time and Season: Doves are most active during the warmer months, from spring to early fall, when they are breeding and foraging. Plan your outings during this period to increase your chances of observing their behaviours.
  • Identify Suitable Habitats: Different dove species prefer specific habitats. Mourning Doves and Eurasian Collared-Doves can be found in a variety of habitats, including woodlands, urban areas, and open fields. White-winged Doves are more prevalent in warmer regions, while Inca Doves favour arid environments. Band-tailed Doves inhabit coniferous forests and mountainous areas. Knowing their preferred habitats will guide your search.
  • Be Patient and Observant: Doves can be elusive at times, so patience is key. Find a comfortable spot with a good vantage point and spend some time quietly observing their surroundings. Look for signs of movement, listen for their distinct calls, and scan tree branches, utility wires, and open areas where they may perch or forage.
  • Use Binoculars or a Spotting Scope: Doves can be skittish, making it challenging to approach them closely. A pair of binoculars or a spotting scope will greatly enhance your ability to observe their details and behaviours from a distance without disturbing them.
  • Learn Their Calls: Each dove species has a unique vocalization. Familiarize yourself with their calls beforehand, as this can be a helpful clue in locating and identifying them. Smartphone apps or online resources can provide recordings of their calls for reference.
  • Respect Wildlife and Their Habitat: When observing doves, always prioritize the well-being of the birds and their environment. Maintain a safe distance, avoid disturbing nests or roosting sites, and follow any local regulations or guidelines regarding wildlife observation.
  • Dress appropriately and Stay Quiet: To avoid startling the doves, wear muted colours that blend into the natural surroundings. Move slowly and minimize noise to prevent scaring them away.
  • Visit Nature Reserves and Parks: Colorado is home to numerous nature reserves and parks where dove populations thrive. Research and visit these protected areas, as they often offer ideal habitats for observing these birds in their natural settings.
  • Join Birding Groups or Workshops: Consider joining local birding groups or attending workshops led by experienced birders. These opportunities can provide valuable insights, guidance, and the chance to connect with fellow enthusiasts who share your passion for avian observation.

List of 5 astounding doves in Colorado 

  1. Band-tailed Pigeon
  2. Rock Pigeon
  3. Eurasian Collared Dove
  4. White-winged Dove
  5. Mourning Dove

1. Band-tailed Pigeon

doves in Colorado

Scientific name: Patagioenas fasciata

Size: It measures 13 to 16 inches (33 to 40 cm) in length and weighs 12 to 18.2 ounces (342 to 515 grams).

How to identify: The plumage is soft blue-grey above and purplish-grey below, with a white crescent on the back of the neck. The upper half of the tail is grey, fading to a pale grey band at the tip. The wings are unmarked pale grey with dark wingtips noticeable in flight.

Habitat: 

The Band-tailed Pigeon is a resident bird in Colorado, and its habitat varies depending on the season. In the summer, they can be found in mature coniferous or mixed forests, especially those with acorns and other nuts. They are also found in wooded suburban areas, where they may visit backyard bird feeders.

In the winter, Band-tailed Pigeons migrate to lower elevations, where they can find food and water more easily. They are often found in open forests, meadows, and even agricultural fields.

Diet: Band-tailed Pigeons are herbivores and their diet consists mainly of seeds, fruits, and berries. They are especially fond of acorns, which are a major source of food for them during the winter. Other common foods include juniper berries, manzanita berries, elderberries, and chokecherries. They will also eat insects, buds, and leaves.

Lifespan: The average lifespan of a Band-tailed Pigeon in Colorado is 15 to 20 years.

Wingspan: The wingspan of a Band-tailed Pigeon dove in Colorado is typically around 26 inches (66 cm).

Calls: The call of the Band-tailed Pigeon is a deep, melodious cooing sound. It is often described as sounding like an owl or a dove. The call is usually given in a series of two or three notes, and it can be heard both in flight and at rest.

The male Band-tailed Pigeon has a more complex call than the female. He will often give a series of slow, deep coos, each rising slightly in pitch. This call is used to attract mates and to defend his territory.

The female Band-tailed Pigeon has a simpler call. She will often give a single, soft coo. This call is used to communicate with her mate and with her young.

Seasons: 

  • Winter: Band-tailed Pigeons typically migrate to lower elevations in the winter, where they can find food and water more easily. They are often found in open forests, meadows, and even agricultural fields. The best time to see Band-tailed Pigeons in Colorado during the winter is in the morning or evening, when they are most active.
  • Spring: Band-tailed Pigeons return to their breeding grounds in the spring. The breeding season for Band-tailed Pigeons is from March to June. During this time, they will build nests in trees and lay one or two eggs. The eggs hatch after about 18 days, and the young birds fledge after about 25 days.
  • Summer: Band-tailed Pigeons raise their young in the summer. During this time, they are often seen feeding in flocks in mature coniferous or mixed forests. They are also attracted to backyard bird feeders, where they will eat seeds, fruits, and berries.
  • Fall: Band-tailed Pigeons begin to migrate to their wintering grounds in the fall. The best time to see Band-tailed Pigeons in Colorado during the fall is in September and October.

2. Rock Pigeon

doves in Colorado

Scientific name: Columba livia.

Size: The size of a Rock Pigeon dove in Colorado is typically 29 to 37 centimetres (11 to 15 inches) long. 

How to identify

Rock Pigeon doves have a broad, rounded tail and broad, pointed wings. They strut on the ground with a head-bobbing motion.  Rock Pigeon doves are typically grey in colour, with two black bars on the wings. The head and neck are bluish-grey, and the breast is paler. Some Rock Pigeon doves may have a rusty or white coloration.

  • Bill: The bill is short and pointed, with a cere (fleshy area) at the base. The cere is typically white or flesh-colored.
  • Eyes: The eyes are dark brown or red.
  • Feet: The feet are red or pink. 

Habitat:
Rock Pigeon doves are found in a variety of habitats in Colorado, including:

  • Urban areas: Rock Pigeon doves are very common in urban areas, where they find food and shelter in buildings, parks, and other human-made structures.
  • Farmland: Rock Pigeon doves are also found in farmland, where they feed on grain and other crops.
  • Woodlands: Rock Pigeon doves can also be found in woodlands, where they nest in trees and feed on seeds and fruits.
  • Rivers and lakes: Rock Pigeon doves are sometimes found near rivers and lakes, where they feed on aquatic plants and insects.

Diet: Rock Pigeon doves are omnivorous, and their diet consists of a variety of foods, including:

  • Seeds: Rock Pigeon doves eat a variety of seeds, including grains, berries, and nuts.
  • Fruits: Rock Pigeon doves also eat fruits, such as apples, pears, and cherries.
  • Insects: Rock Pigeon doves eat a variety of insects, including beetles, flies, and grasshoppers.
  • Other small animals: Rock Pigeon doves will also eat other small animals, such as snails and worms.
  • Human food: Rock Pigeon doves are not afraid to eat human food, and they will often scavenge for food in parks, streets, and other areas where people are present.

Lifespan: The lifespan of a Rock Pigeon dove in Colorado is typically 3-5 years in the wild. 

Wingspan: The wingspan of a Rock Pigeon dove in Colorado is typically 62-72 centimetres (24-28 inches).

Calls: Rock Pigeon doves in Colorado make a variety of calls, including:

  • Coo: The most common call of a Rock Pigeon dove is a soft, repeated cooing sound. This call is often used to communicate with mates and to establish territories.
  • Purr: Rock Pigeon doves also make a purring sound, which is often used as a greeting or as a way to show affection.
  • Scream: If a Rock Pigeon dove is alarmed or threatened, it will make a loud, high-pitched scream. This call is used to warn other doves of danger.
  • Wing-clapping: Rock Pigeon doves will sometimes clap their wings together as a way to communicate. This call is often used to attract mates or to establish territories.

Seasons: Rock Pigeon doves do have a breeding season, which is typically from spring to summer.

3. Eurasian Collared Dove

Scientific name: Streptopelia decaocto

Size:  The Eurasian collared dove is a medium-sized dove, with an average length of 32 centimetres (13 inches) from tip of beak to tip of tail.

How to identify

  • Black collar: The Eurasian collared dove has a black collar around its neck. This is the most distinctive feature of the species.
  • Broad white patches in the tail: The Eurasian collared dove has broad white patches in the tail. These are not as obvious as the black collar, but they can be helpful in identification.
  • Dark-tipped wings: The Eurasian collared dove has dark-tipped wings. This is a good way to distinguish it from the Mourning dove, which has light-tipped wings.

Habitat: 

  • Urban areas: Eurasian collared doves are often seen in parks, gardens, and other areas of open space in urban areas. They are attracted to these areas because they provide food, water, and shelter.
  • Agricultural areas: Eurasian collared doves are also common in agricultural areas, where they can find grain and other food sources. They are often seen feeding in fields and on roadsides.
  • Forests: Eurasian collared doves can also be found in forests, where they typically prefer open areas such as meadows and clearings. They are less common in dense forests, but they may be seen near water sources or in areas with scattered trees.
  • Deserts: Eurasian collared doves can even be found in deserts, where they are attracted to areas with water sources such as oases and rivers. They are less common in the driest parts of the desert, but they may be seen near urban areas or along highways.

Diet: The Eurasian collared dove is an omnivorous bird, and its diet consists of a variety of seeds, grains, fruits, and insects. In Colorado, the dove’s diet typically includes:

  • Seeds: Millet, sunflower seeds, and corn are some of the most common seeds that Eurasian collared doves eat. They will also eat seeds from other plants, such as grasses, weeds, and wildflowers.
  • Grains: Eurasian collared doves will eat a variety of grains, including wheat, barley, and oats. They will also eat grain that has been spilled or discarded by humans.
  • Fruits: Eurasian collared doves will eat a variety of fruits, including berries, grapes, and apples. They will also eat fruit that has fallen from trees or has been discarded by humans.
  • Insects: Eurasian collared doves will eat a variety of insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, and caterpillars. They will also eat insect larvae, such as those of ants and wasps.

Lifespan: The lifespan of a Eurasian collared dove in Colorado is typically 3-5 years.

Wingspan:  The wingspan of a Eurasian collared dove in Colorado is typically 47-55 centimetres (19-21 inches).

Calls:
The Eurasian collared dove is a noisy bird, and it has a variety of calls. The most common call is a three-part coo, which is often described as a “kuk-koooo-kuk”. This call is used to attract mates, defend territories, and communicate with other doves.

Seasons: During the breeding season, from April to September, the population of Eurasian collared doves in Colorado increases. This is because the doves are breeding during this time, and they need to find mates and build nests.

After the breeding season, from October to March, the population of Eurasian collared doves in Colorado decreases. This is because the doves are no longer breeding, and they do not need to find mates or build nests.

4. White-winged Dove

Scientific name: Zenaida asiatica

Size: They are typically 29 centimetres (11 inches) long from tip to tail. 

How to identify: 

  • Size: The white-winged dove is about the size of a pigeon, with a greyish-brown body and a white wing patch.
  • White wing patch: The white-winged dove is named for its distinctive white wing patch. This patch is visible when the bird is in flight, and it is a good way to identify the bird.
  • Head: The head of the white-winged dove is grey with a blue eyeing and red eyes.

Habitat: The white-winged dove is a common bird in Colorado, and it can be found in a variety of habitats. These include: Deserts, Grasslands, Urban areas, Riparian areas and Thorny forests. 

Diet:
The white-winged dove is an omnivorous bird, and its diet consists of a variety of seeds, fruits, insects, and nectar. In Colorado, their diet includes:

  • Seeds: White-winged doves eat a variety of seeds, including sunflower seeds, millet, corn, and safflower seeds. They also eat the seeds of many wild plants, such as grasses, legumes, and weeds.
  • Fruits: White-winged doves eat a variety of fruits, including cactus fruits, berries, and figs. They also eat the nectar from flowers.
  • Insects: White-winged doves eat a variety of insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, and ants. They also eat spiders and other small invertebrates.
  • Nectar: White-winged doves sometimes drink nectar from flowers. They do not have a long, brush-tipped tongue like hummingbirds, but they can lap up nectar with their short, broad tongues.

Lifespan:  The lifespan of a white-winged dove in Colorado is typically 5 to 10 years.

Wingspan:  The wingspan of a white-winged dove in Colorado is typically 18.9 to 22.8 centimetres (48 to 58 inches).

Calls: The white-winged dove is a vocal bird, and it makes a variety of calls. The most common call is a series of cooing notes that sound like “who cooks for you?” This call is used for courtship and to defend territory.

Other calls of the white-winged dove include:

  • Clapping: Males make a clapping sound by striking the backs of their wings together during display flights.
  • Nestling call: Nestlings make a begging call that sounds like “sur-ee.”
  • Take-off call: White-winged Doves often produce a staccato whir with their wings, and sometimes their wingtips make whistling sounds upon taking off.

Seasons:  

Season Description 
WinterWhite-winged doves spend the winter in Mexico and the southern United States.
Spring migrationWhite-winged doves arrive in Colorado in early March.
SummerWhite-winged doves breed in Colorado during the summer.
Fall migrationWhite-winged doves leave Colorado in late September.

5. Mourning Dove

Scientific name: Zenaida macroura

Size: The mourning dove in Colorado is a medium-sized bird, with an average length of 12 inches (31 cm). 

How to identify: 

  • Colour: Mourning doves have a light grey-brown body, with a pinkish wash on the breast and belly. The wings are dark grey, with a white patch on the underside.
  • Tail: The mourning dove has a long, pointed tail that is about the same length as its body.
  • Bill: The mourning dove has a short, black bill.
  • Eyes: The mourning dove has dark brown eyes.

Habitat: The mourning dove is a common sight in Colorado, and can be found in a variety of habitats, including:

  • Open fields: Mourning doves are often seen in open fields, such as pastures, hayfields, and agricultural fields. They feed on seeds and insects that they find in these areas.
  • Forests: Mourning doves can also be found in forests, where they nest in trees. They typically build their nests in the forks of branches, and lay two eggs per clutch.
  • Urban areas: Mourning doves are also common in urban areas, where they can be found in parks, gardens, and backyards. They are attracted to these areas because they provide food and water, as well as nesting sites.

Diet: The diet of mourning doves in Colorado consists mainly of seeds, fruits, and insects. They are herbivores, and their diet varies depending on the season.

In the spring and summer, mourning doves eat a variety of seeds, including millet, corn, and sunflower seeds. They also eat fruits, such as berries and cherries. In the fall and winter, mourning doves eat more insects, such as grasshoppers, beetles, and caterpillars.

Mourning doves also eat grit, which helps them to digest their food. They typically swallow grit from the ground or from bird baths.

Lifespan: The average lifespan of a mourning dove in Colorado is 2-3 years. 

Wingspan: The wingspan of a mourning dove in Colorado is typically 17-19 inches (43-48 cm).

Calls: 

The mourning dove is known for its soft, cooing call. The male mourning dove has a two-part call that is often described as “coo-ah, coo-coo-coo.” The female mourning dove has a similar call, but it is slightly lower in pitch.

Mourning doves also make a variety of other calls, including:

  • Alarm call: A loud, sharp “hwaah” call that is given when the bird is startled or alarmed.
  • Nesting call: A three-part call that is given by the male mourning dove while building the nest.
  • Begging call: A high-pitched “ohr, ohr” call that is given by the female mourning dove when she is feeding her young.

Seasons: 

The mourning dove is a year-round resident in Colorado. However, there are two main seasons for mourning doves in Colorado: the breeding season and the migration season.

The breeding season for mourning doves in Colorado is April-July. During this time, mourning doves will mate and build nests. The female mourning dove will lay two eggs, which will hatch after about 14 days. The young mourning doves will fledge after about 18 days.

The migration season for mourning doves in Colorado is September-October and March-April. During this time, mourning doves will fly south to warmer climates for the winter. They will typically travel in flocks of up to 100 birds.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of the seasons for mourning doves in Colorado:

  • Breeding season: April-July
  • Migration season: September-October and March-April
  • Non-breeding season: November-March. 

Frequently asked questions: doves in Colorado

Q: What are the five astounding dove species found in Colorado?

A: The five astounding dove species found in Colorado are the Mourning Dove, White-winged Dove, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Inca Dove, and Band-tailed Dove.

Q: What makes the Mourning Dove unique?

A: The Mourning Dove, a familiar sight across Colorado, is known for its gentle cooing sound and graceful flight. It possesses a subtle combination of soft browns, greys, and delicate black markings on its wings, making it a truly elegant species.

Q: Are White-winged Doves native to Colorado?

A: No, the White-winged Dove is not native to Colorado but has expanded its range into the state over recent years. Recognizable by its striking white wing patches and soft grey plumage, this dove species has become more prevalent in certain regions of Colorado.

Q: What distinguishes the Eurasian Collared-Dove from other dove species?

A: The Eurasian Collared-Dove is a relatively large and robust dove with a distinctive black “collar” on the back of its neck. Its plumage is primarily greyish-tan, and it has a long, tapered tail. This species is known for its adaptability and successful establishment in various habitats across Colorado.

Q: Where can I find Inca Doves in Colorado?

A: Inca Doves, characterized by their scaled appearance and warm buff colouring, are primarily found in the southern regions of Colorado. They prefer arid environments, such as desert canyons and scrublands, where they can forage for seeds on the ground.

Q: Tell me more about the Band-tailed Dove.

A: The Band-tailed Dove is the largest dove species found in Colorado. With its beautiful grey plumage, slender body, and distinctive white crescent-shaped band on its tail, it is an impressive sight. Band-tailed Doves inhabit coniferous forests and mountainous areas, often seen in flocks flying gracefully through the trees.

Q: Are these dove species common in Colorado?

A: Yes, these dove species are relatively common in Colorado, although their abundance may vary depending on the region and specific habitat conditions. Some species, such as the Mourning Dove and Eurasian Collared-Dove, can be encountered throughout the state, while others, like the Inca Dove, are more localized to specific areas.

Q: Can I observe these doves in urban areas?

A: Yes, certain dove species, such as the Eurasian Collared-Dove and Mourning Dove, have adapted well to urban environments and can be observed in parks, gardens, and residential areas across Colorado. Their adaptability to human-altered landscapes has contributed to their widespread presence.

Q: Are these doves migratory in nature?

A: While some dove species, like the Band-tailed Dove, undertake long-distance migrations, others, such as the Mourning Dove and Eurasian Collared-Dove, are primarily non-migratory in Colorado. The migratory behaviour of doves can vary depending on factors such as food availability and weather patterns.

Q: What is the best time to spot these doves in Colorado?

A: The best time to spot these doves in Colorado are during the warmer months, from spring to early fall, when they are most active and breeding. However, certain species, like the Mourning Dove and Eurasian Collared-Dove, can be observed year-round in suitable habitats.

Q: Are these doves important to Colorado’s ecosystems?

A: Yes, these let us appreciate and cherish the presence of these doves, for they remind us of the delicate harmony that exists between nature and ourselves. As we continue to explore and protect Colorado’s natural treasures, may we always be captivated by the astounding beauty and wonder of these remarkable dove species that grace our skies? species play important roles in Colorado’s ecosystems. They contribute to seed dispersal, pollination, and serve as prey for predators, thereby contributing to the overall balance and health of the natural environment. Additionally,

Conclusion: 

The 5 astounding dove species found in Colorado—Mourning Dove, White-winged Dove, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Inca Dove, and Band-tailed Dove—enchant us with their captivating colours, graceful flights, and unique characteristics. These avian wonders have carved their place in Colorado’s diverse landscapes, from the plains to the mountains. Whether it’s the mournful cooing of the Mourning Dove or the striking white wing patches of the White-winged Dove, each species adds its own charm to the state’s natural tapestry.

Let us appreciate and cherish the presence of these doves, for they remind us of the delicate harmony that exists between nature and us. As we continue to explore and protect Colorado’s natural treasures, may we always be captivated by the astounding beauty and wonder of these remarkable dove species that grace our skies?

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