Photo: Greg Lasley/Vireo

White-tipped Dove

Leptotila verreauxi

The birder visiting woods of southern Texas may be startled to realize that some of the doves walking about on the ground are of an unfamiliar type. Round-bodied and short-tailed, they keep close to cover; if disturbed, they walk away rapidly through the undergrowth, or fly away low with a whistle of wings. These White-tipped Doves are the northernmost representatives of a distinctive group, the genus Leptotila, widespread in wooded areas in the American tropics.
Conservation status Numbers holding up very well in undisturbed habitats in southern Texas. As long as habitat remains, probably not too vulnerable to hunting pressure in tropics.
Family Pigeons and Doves
Habitat Shady woodlands, river thickets. In southern Texas, found in any kind of dense low growth; most common in native woodland, but also found in second growth. Within its wide range (from Texas to Argentina) found in many habitats, but mostly drier or more open woods, avoiding unbroken rain forest.
The birder visiting woods of southern Texas may be startled to realize that some of the doves walking about on the ground are of an unfamiliar type. Round-bodied and short-tailed, they keep close to cover; if disturbed, they walk away rapidly through the undergrowth, or fly away low with a whistle of wings. These White-tipped Doves are the northernmost representatives of a distinctive group, the genus Leptotila, widespread in wooded areas in the American tropics.
Photo Gallery
  • adult
  • adult
  • adult
Feeding Behavior

Forages mostly on ground, walking about in woodland undergrowth; may sometimes forage in low trees or shrubs. In some parks in southern Texas, will come birdseed or other food put out for them. Several may concentrate at sources of food, but usually solitary, not sociable like many doves.


Eggs

2. Pale buff, fading to white. Incubation is probably by both parents, about 14 days. Young: Both parents presumed to feed young "pigeon milk." Development of young and age at first flight not well known.


Young

Both parents presumed to feed young "pigeon milk." Development of young and age at first flight not well known.

Diet

Probably seeds and berries. Diet not well known. Evidently eats many seeds, including those of grasses, mesquites, and elms; also berries and fruits, including those of hackberry and prickly pear cactus. May eat some insects.


Nesting

In courtship on ground, male may hunch shoulders, lower head, run a few steps toward female, then stop and coo. Also may have bowing display. Nest site is in dense low tree, thorny shrub, or tangle of vines, usually less than 15' above the ground, perhaps sometimes on the ground. Usually placed on horizontal fork of branch. Nest (probably built by both sexes) is a platform of sticks and weed stems, usually quite flimsy.

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Migration

Permanent resident throughout its range.

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Migration

Permanent resident throughout its range.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
Deep, drawn-out, descending coo, lower pitched than most of our pigeons and doves.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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