In the early mornings of late January and early February, mourning doves in North Carolina begin cooing and making their circling courtship flights. Mourning doves, often seen migrating in large flocks, begin to break up and form pairs. Named for their long tails and melancholy bird call, mourning doves have beenclassified as a game bird by the federal government and 39 states, including North Carolina.
The mourning dove has a thin, delicate-looking bill, a neat head, and a long, graduated tail bordered with large white spots. The colors of the female are
duller than the gray-brown adult males. At close range, adult males can be distinguished by purple-pink iridescent feathers on the neck and light pink
on the breast. The upper part of the throat is whitish. Legs and feet are dull red or purplish red.
To learn more about the Mourning Dove, view the species profile or click on the other tabs on this page.