8 Doves in Texas

Written by Niccoy Walker
Published: September 15, 2022
© Phoo Chan/Shutterstock.com
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Doves symbolize peace and love, but they do more than just bring friendly messages. They are intelligent creatures that are beneficial to the environment. Instead of using herbicides to keep weeds out of their crops, farmers rely on doves to eat weed seeds, which they do so happily. Doves are also fascinating to watch as they display social behaviors and communicate with each other using various sounds, like coos. Learn about the doves in Texas and discover their habitats and identifying traits.

Mourning Dove

The mourning dove is one of the most common doves in Texas.

©Tom Cantaffa/Shutterstock.com

Mourning doves in Texas are some of the most common, and you can find them year-round throughout the state. They have plump bodies, long, pointed tails, and a small bill. Their coloring is light brown to tan, with black spots on their wings and black tails with white borders. 

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These fast flyers have powerful wings that can quickly ascent and descent with every beat, making a high-pitched whistle. To attract these doves, you can scatter millet seeds on the ground near dense shrubs or evergreen trees. When they’re not perched on telephone wires or foraging for seeds on the ground, they are nesting in trees in open woodland habitats.

White-Winged Dove

White-winged doves prefer desert habitats of the Southwest.

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The white-winged dove is mainly found in southern and eastern parts of Texas during the breeding season, but it’s slowly expanding its range across the state. Its body is plump, about the size of a robin, with square tails and long, thin bills. It has a brown body, dark wings, white stripes, and a white dipped tail. Its face also has distinctive markings, with a blue hue around its eyes and a black line on the cheeks. 

This dove prefers desert habitats in the Southwest and is increasingly appearing in cities and towns, where it likes to eat at feeders in suburban backyards. You can often find it foraging for seeds on the ground or perched in trees eating berries.

White-tipped Dove

White-tipped Dove
The white-tipped dove lives along the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

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You will mainly find the white-tipped dove in South America, but it also lives in parts of Central America, Mexico, and the very southern tip of Texas along the lower Rio Grande Valley. The white-tipped dove is stout with short legs, a rounded tail (also short), and a small head. Its coloring consists of brown on top and a white underside, with a pale chin and forehead. When you catch this bird in the right light, it shows a magenta iridescent color. 

Around a dozen subspecies of the white-tipped dove prefer to inhabit thick brush and woodlands near water. You may occasionally spot it in citrus groves. To attract white-tipped doves to your South Texas home, scatter seeds on the ground or place them in a low platform feeder.

Eurasian Collared Dove

You can find the Eurasian collared dove all over Texas year-round.

©Dennis Jacobsen/Shutterstock.com

The Eurasian collared dove lives in all parts of Texas year-round. It’s light brown to gray, with white patches on the tail and a crescent-shaped black collar around its neck. This dove is slightly more sizeable than the average, with plump bodies, small heads, and long, squared tails. This species is often mistaken for the mourning dove, but you can tell apart from the black ring around its neck and its rhythmic three-parted coo.

 It doesn’t have a picky habitat, and you can find it in urban, suburban, and farmland settings. Look for it on telephone poles, in large trees, or in backyard feeders. If you want to attract it, throw millet on the ground or platform feeders. 

Rock Dove

rock pigeon sitting on top a roof
Rock pigeons inhabit all areas of Texas’s urban and suburban areas.

©iStock.com/Christian Sturzenegger

Doves and pigeons are in the same family, and the rock dove is actually a pigeon. The rock dove is a stubby bird more prominent than a robin but smaller than a crow, with short legs, a small head, and a broad, rounded tail. 

This bird inhabits South and South America year-round, often crowding public streets and resting on buildings, barns, and bridges. Most of this species is a bluish-gray color with iridescent throat feathers and black bands on their light-colored wings. In Texas, it is common to see rock doves with red plumage gathering in flocks and pecking for food on the ground.

Band-Tailed Pigeon

Band-Tailed Pigeon
The band-tailed pigeon lives near the Mexico border in West Texas.


The band-tailed pigeon lives year-round in parts of western Texas near the Mexico border. This species is more significant than a rock pigeon with a similar stocky body, a small head, and a long, rounded tail. Its coloring is different, however, with a soft gray on top and a purplish-gray underneath. It also has a white crescent shape on the back of its neck. 

This bird prefers its natural habitat of coniferous forests in the Southwest mountains but will also grace suburban parks, backyards, and fields. You can hear its owl-like coos as it flies overhead in large flocks, searching for nuts, fruit, and seeds. 

Inca Dove

Inca Dove
Inca doves live near towns and are not shy about gracing backyard feeders.


The Inca dove inhabits most of Texas year-round, except for the extreme Eastern areas and the Panhandle. This species is smaller and more slender than other doves, with a long, squared tail, a small head, short legs, and a drooping bill. Its coloring blends with dry environments; its tan feathers are outlined in dark brown, giving an appearance of scales. Its lower body mass may contribute to its survivability compared to others in the same family.

This dove is frequently near people, inhabiting towns, parks, and farms, and it prefers to be in open areas with little shrubs and trees. The Inca dove is not shy and will readily occupy backyards with feeders and native shrubs. It is highly vocal, cooing all day and night; even its wings make a clattering noise as it flies.

Common Ground Dove

Common Ground Dove
The common ground dove likes to hide under shrubs for cover.

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This ground dove lives in southern and central Texas year-round, foraging in dusty open areas. This tiny dove is around the same size as a house sparrow with short wings, tails, and bills; its legs are short, and it shuffles while it walks. It is an overall light brown color with dark spots on its wings.

The common ground dove has an expansive habitat from open shrubby areas with tall grass to suburbs and towns where it frequents backyards. It likes to hide in grass and trees while singing quietly. You can attract this dove by placing ground feeders next to nearby shrubs where it can take cover.

The Featured Image

Mourning Dove in Flight
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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer and content creator focusing on nature, wildlife, food, and travel. She graduated Kappa Beta Delta from Florida State College with a business degree before realizing writing was her true passion. She lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and enjoys hiking, reading, and cooking!

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