White-winged Dove

The white-winged dove (Zenaida asiatica) is unusual because, unlike many birds, it can drink water without lifting its head back.

Originally found in desert thickets of the Southwest and Texas, white-winged doves are now also common in urban and suburban settings. Their range is expanding. In the winter they can be found in the coastal Southeast. Summer populations are found in Nevada, Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

White-winged doves are generally brownish grey above and a paler grey below. A white stripe on the folded wings contrasts sharply with the black flight feathers. The squared off tail ends with a terminal white band. Blue skin surrounds the orange eyes of white-winged doves. Their bill is black and feet are red. A prominent black band frames the lower cheek.

White-winged doves eat grains and seeds, often becoming a nuisance in agricultural fields. In the Sonoran Deserts saguaro nectar, pollen and seeds are favorite foods. The white-winged doves break open the saguaro fruits to eat the tightly packed seeds. They will also eat snails and small bones to obtain calcium.

These white-winged doves were photographed in an arroyo behind Casa Paloma 2 in Green Valley AZ.

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