North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Mourning Dove

Scientific Name: Zenaida macroura
Classification: Game Species
Abundance: Common throughout state


Photo: Mark Buckler

Species Profile (pdf)

 
 

Additional Mourning Dove Information

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 been classified 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. 

Learn more by reading the Mourning Dove species profile.

Baiting Laws When Hunting Agriculture Areas

Dove Hunting in North Carolina (summary of regulations and safety tips) (PDF)

Species

2018-19
Season
Dates

2018-19
Regulations

Additional Information

Doves (includes mourning and white-winged dove)

Seasons/Limits

Extended Falconry Seasons 

Migratory Game Birds Regulations


 

Additional Info (including public hunting opportunities and various reports)

 

Mourning dove populations are monitored by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and other state agencies through several surveys. The long-standing call-count survey is conducted throughout the United States and tracks long-term population trends. Approximately 20 of the surveys are conducted in North Carolina. The survey is a 20-mile motor route, with stops each mile for three minutes. An observer records the number of doves heard calling and observed. Results of the survey in the eastern United States suggest that dove populations have been relatively stable. Recently, the Commission participated in new monitoring surveys involving large-scale leg banding of mourning doves. These surveys allow managers to make optimal decisions regarding hunting season regulations to ensure long-term proper management of this important resource.

 

2011-12 Survey of Dove Hunters in North Carolina (PDF- 1.02 MB)

Mourning Dove Status Report - 2010 (PDF - 1.31MB)

Mourning Dove National Harvest Plan (PDF - 1.20MB)

 

Harvest Survey of North Carolina Hunters

 

 

Please report all bands online at  www.reportband.gov

Please be aware that starting July, 2017, the toll-free telephone number that had previously been available to report bird bands is being discontinued.  This discontinuation is collectively due to past problems with accurate data recording, high rates of dropped calls and budget cuts.  People calling this toll-free number will be directed to report their bird bands using the REPORTBAND website or by mail.  We rely heavily on your cooperation in reporting banded birds to help in their management, and we would like to thank you for your continued support in this effort.