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.

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.


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.


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


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.


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

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Permanent resident throughout its range.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon

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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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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the White-tipped Dove

Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.

Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.

Climate Threats Near You

Climate threats facing the White-tipped Dove

Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.