So this is another bird that I had originally misidentified. When we went down to South Padre Island, Texas years ago I managed to get a couple pictures of some doves and I just automatically assumed they were mourning doves (as they had similar coloring). I neglected to look at wings closely enough–and if I had, I would have realized that I was looking at a couple of different doves. The first one I managed to get pictures of wasn’t the mourning dove but the Eurasian collared dove.
These doves are actually larger than both mourning doves and rock pigeons. They have the plump bodies and small heads like all doves, but a longer tail that is squared (not pointed like the mourning dove).
They are a light brown to grey in color with white patches on the tail. Their identifying mark is a black crescent around the back of the neck. There are no black spots on the wings (like what you would see on the mourning dove).
As the name shows, this is not a ‘native’ dove species to the United States. They were actually introduced to the Bahamas in the 1970s (when a pet store was robbed), they made it to Florida in the 1980s, and since then spread throughout majority of the United States.
Currently they’re found in the western half of the country, parts of southwestern Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Indiana, and about half of Kentucky. They’re absent from the Northeastern part of the country, most of Canada and Alaska. Some say that it is the cold temperatures that have kept the dove out of the northeast–but since Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and the Dakotas can also get cold and have blizzards in the winter I’m not sure how much truth there is to that reason.
They live in suburban, urban, and rural areas that are close to food sources. You can spot them roosting on utility poles, wires, roofs, and tall trees in open areas close to feeding sites (bird feeders, fields, silos, and so forth).
They seldom will flock with other birds, preferring to chase them away from the food source–so if you see a dove chasing oher doves and birds off, its a good bet that it is a Eurasian collared dove.
Their diet consists mainly of seeds and cereal grains (millet, sunflower, wheat, and corn for example), but they will also eat berries, the young shoots of plants and insects.
Like other pigeons and doves, the Eurasian collared dove can drink with their heads down (due to their strong esophagus aiding in drinking), and they feed their young, pigeon milk.
A photography goal is to get a picture of one (or more) roosting on a wire or tree branch, and possibly eating at a feeder (before or after chasing off other birds).