doves in illinois

3 Types Of Doves in Illinois (With Pictures) in 2024

Have you ever wondered about the variety of doves that live in Illinois? Did you know that this beautiful state is home to not just one, but three different species of these serene birds? From the familiar mourning dove, notable for its soft color with a black patch on the neck. to the adaptable rock pigeon, often seen in cities gathering grains and seeds. and the rapidly expanding Eurasian collared-dove, with its distinct pinkish coloration around the neck., each species brings its own uniqueness to the Illinois skies. Join us on a journey to discover the secrets and wonders of these peaceful creatures, including the various types of doves in Illinois, including the 3 doves primarily spotted in suburban areas..

Key Takeaways:

  • Illinois is home to three species of doves, including the mourning doverock pigeon, and Eurasian collared-dove.
  • Each dove species has its own distinct characteristics, including appearance, habitat preferences, and behavior.
  • Understanding dove habitat and behavior is crucial to appreciating their presence and protecting their populations.
  • Doves play an important role in Illinois’ biodiversity, serving as prey for birds of prey and contributing to the overall ecosystem.
  • Take a moment to cherish the peaceful beauty of doves and their enduring symbolism of peace and tranquility.

#1. Mourning Dove, recognizable by its gentle grayish color and soft, melancholic coo, is one of the doves of Illinois.

Mourning Dove

The mourning dove, scientifically known as Zenaida macroura, is one of the most common doves found in Illinois. With its gentle coo and graceful flight, this species has become synonymous with tranquility. Let’s explore its appearance, habitat, and behavior, shedding light on its significant presence in Illinois.


The mourning dove is a moderately sized bird, measuring between 9 to 13 inches in length. It has a slim body with long, pointed wings, and a tapering tail. Its plumage is predominantly brown-gray, with lighter shades on the underside. The wings feature distinctive black spots, and the outer tail feathers exhibit white edges, visible during flight.


Mourning doves prefer open habitats such as fields, forest edges, grasslands, and suburban areas. They are adaptable birds and can be found in both rural and urban environments across Illinois. Their year-round presence ability to thrive in a variety of habitats is a testament to their versatility.


Mourning doves are primarily seed eaters and feed on a variety of plant seeds such as grasses, grains, and wildflowers. They have a unique drinking behavior, where they suck up water instead of scooping it. This adaptation allows them to access water from shallow sources like puddles and bird baths. Mourning doves are known for their monotonous cooing calls, often heard during their courtship displays.

Common NameScientific NameSizeRange
Mourning DoveZenaida macroura9-13North, Central, and South America
White-winged DoveZenaida asiatica11-14Southwestern United States, Mexico, Central America, and areas with significant populations of the types of doves in Illinois
Eurasian Collared-DoveStreptopelia decaocto12-14North America, Europe, Asia, where doves can be found in abundance.

#2. Rock Pigeon

rock pigeon

The rock pigeon, also known as a city pigeon, is a familiar sight in urban areas across Illinois. These pigeons have adapted well to human environments and can be easily spotted near bird feeders and in urban areas. With their distinctive appearance and adaptable behavior, rock pigeons are extremely common throughout the state.

Rock pigeons, characterized by their medium-sized body, stout build, rounded wings, and the distinctive wing bars. Their plumage can vary in color, ranging from pale gray to dark gray, with iridescent patches on their necks and wings, and some showing hints of pinkish tones. These resilient birds are often found in large flocks, making them a prevalent species in Illinois.

One of the reasons why rock pigeons have thrived in urban areas is their ability to forage for food in diverse environments. They are opportunistic feeders, consuming a wide range of seeds, grains, fruits, and even human leftovers. This adaptability has enabled them to take advantage of the resources available in urban landscapes, leading to their abundant presence in Illinois.

Rock pigeons are highly social birds and often seen in large groups, especially in areas with abundant food sources. Their distinct cooing vocalizations, especially those of the Turtle Dove and other types of doves in Illinois, can be heard echoing through city streets, parks, and plazas. They build nests on buildings, ledges, and other structures, using twigs, grass, and other materials they find in their surroundings. Their breeding season occurs throughout the year, contributing to their continuous population growth.

While some people may consider rock pigeons to be pests or nuisances, these birds have found a way to adapt and coexist with humans in urban environments. With their ability to thrive in diverse habitats and their remarkable adaptability, rock pigeons have become an integral part of Illinois’ avian community.

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#3. Eurasian Collared-Dove

Eurasian Collared-Dove

The Eurasian collared-dove, with its distinctive pinkish hue, is a relatively new addition to the dove family. population in Illinois. Originally from the Bahamas in the 1970s, these doves have rapidly expanded their range and can now be found throughout the state, feeding on grains and seeds.

The Eurasian collared-dove (Streptopelia decaocto) is a medium-sized dove with a distinctive black collar on its neck. Their plumage is pale gray and they have long, slender tails. This species is known for its soft cooing call, which is often heard in suburban neighborhoods and rural areas.

This invasive species has become quite adaptable to different habitats and is commonly found in urban, suburban, and rural environments. Eurasian collared-doves feed on seeds, grains, and fruits, and can often be seen perched on power lines or trees, observing their surroundings.

Despite their relative success in Illinois, the presence of Eurasian collared-doves does have an impact on native dove populations. These doves compete with native doves for resources such as food and nesting sites, potentially affecting the local ecosystem.

Efforts are being made to understand and manage the presence of Eurasian collared-doves in Illinois. By studying their behavior and impact on native doves, wildlife conservationists can develop strategies to mitigate potential issues and ensure the well-being of all dove species in the state.

Overall, the Eurasian collared-dove adds an intriguing dynamic to the dove population in Illinois. Their adaptability and rapid expansion demonstrate the resilience of invasive species, such as the Eurasian Collared-Dove in new environments, including Illinois. By studying and monitoring their presence, we can continue to learn more about the ever-evolving ecosystems in our state.

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Dove Habitat and Behavior

Understanding the habitat and behavior of doves is essential to appreciate their presence in Illinois. These birds have adapted to thrive in a variety of habitats across the state, including urban areas, suburban neighborhoods, and rural landscapes. Let’s explore their preferred habitats, feeding habits, breeding patterns, and migratory behavior.

Preferred Habitats

Different dove species have specific preferences when it comes to their habitat. While mourning doves are commonly found in open woodlands, agricultural fields, and grasslands, rock pigeons tend to prefer urban environments such as parks, rooftops, and bridges. Eurasian collared-doves, on the other hand, have a broader range and can be seen in both urban and rural areas, often visiting platform feeders in search of grains and seeds.

Feeding Habits

Doves primarily feed on seeds, grains, and fruits. They forage on the ground, often gathering in groups to search for food. It’s not uncommon to come across doves feeding near bird feeders or in open fields where seeds and grains are abundant.

Breeding Patterns

Doves typically breed during the spring and summer months. They build simple nests using twigs and grass, often concealed in trees, shrubs, or on man-made structures like ledges and rooftops, a common behavior among the doves of Illinois. The female dove usually lays two eggs, and both parents take turns incubating them.

Migratory Behavior

While mourning doves are known to be long-distance migratory birds, traveling thousands of miles from their breeding grounds in Illinois to their wintering grounds in the southern United States and Central America, rock pigeons and Eurasian collared-doves are more sedentary and do not typically engage in long-distance migrations.

Understanding the habitat requirements and behaviors of doves allows us to appreciate how these birds have adapted and thrived in the various landscapes of Illinois. Whether you spot them in your backyard, city parks, or out in nature, take a moment to observe their graceful flight and serene presence.

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An Integral Part of Illinois Biodiversity

Doves are a fundamental component of Illinois’ rich biodiversity. Their presence contributes to the delicate balance of the state’s ecosystem, making it crucial to protect the doves of Illinois. protect dove populations and ensure their survival.

The Significance of Protecting the varied species of doves, including those with pinkish hues, is crucial for maintaining biodiversity. Dove Populations

Protecting dove populations in Illinois is essential for several reasons. Firstly, doves, including the various types of doves in Illinois, serve as indicators of ecological health, and their abundance or decline can reflect overall changes in habitat quality and availability. By safeguarding their populations, we can monitor the well-being of their habitats and address any concerning trends.

Secondly, regulating dove hunting through initiatives such as the Illinois Dove Season 2023 managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is crucial to maintain a sustainable balance year-round. Establishing hunting seasons and bag limits helps manage the dove population, including those doves of Illinois, and prevent overharvesting, ensuring their long-term viability.

Interplay Between Doves and Other Bird Species

Doves interact with various bird species in Illinois, creating a complex web of ecological relationships, often congregating around platform feeders. As seed-eaters, doves play a vital role in seed dispersal, aiding in the regeneration and diversity of plant communities. Their feeding habits contribute to the spread of plant species across different habitats.

Birds of prey, such as the iconic bald eagle and red-tailed hawk, often prey on doves. These raptors rely on doves as a crucial food source during specific times of the year, contributing to their own population dynamics. The interdependence between doves, including the doves of Illinois, and birds of prey highlights the intricate balance within Illinois’ avian community.

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Role of Doves in Breeding Season

Doves exhibit fascinating breeding behaviors during their breeding season, which varies depending on the species. During courtship displays, male doves engage in elaborate flights and calls to attract females. These seasonal rituals are essential for successful reproduction and the continuation of dove populations in Illinois.

Female doves construct simple nests made of twigs, while both parents share the responsibility of incubating the eggs. This dedication to parenting ensures the survival of their offspring and contributes to the stability of dove populations.

Dove SpeciesPopulation in Illinois
Mourning DoveAbundant
Rock PigeonExtremely Common
Eurasian Collared-DoveExpanding Range

When examining the population status of different dove species in Illinois, it is clear that some are thriving while others are expanding their range. Understanding these population dynamics allows us to implement appropriate conservation measures and ensure the long-term viability of dove populations in the state.

Final Thoughts:

As we conclude our exploration of doves in Illinois, let’s take a moment to appreciate the symbolism they hold and their enduring presence in the state. Doves have long been regarded as birds of peace, representing hope, love, and harmony. Their gentle coo and graceful flight evoke a sense of serenity that resonates with people across cultures and time.

Illinois, with its diverse habitats and rich biodiversity, provides a haven for a variety of dove species. From the common mourning dove with its soothing song to the elegant Eurasian collared-dove with its striking plumage, these gentle birds bring both beauty and tranquility to the Illinois landscape.

Whether you spot a white dove in a serene garden or encounter a dove on your nature walks, take a moment to appreciate their presence and the peace they represent. As we look ahead to the Illinois dove season in 2023, let us remember to protect and preserve these feathered companions, including the diverse types of doves in Illinois, ensuring their continued existence for future generations to enjoy.

John William

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