The Mourning Dove is a widespread species breeding in the non-boreal regions of North and Middle America and from the West Indies south to Panama. It is hunted extensively in many sections of the United States and in some sections of Canada, the West Indies, and Mexico....The trends in geographic variation of Mourning Doves are from dark coloration in the east to pale coloration in the west and from shorter wing length in tropical areas to longer in the temperate region. More rusty underparts are associated with birds of the West Indies, and extremely saturated coloration and relatively large bills and feet have been developed by the population on Clarion Island off the western coast of Mexico. The combinations of geographic variation result in the recognition of five geographic races, two of which breed on the mainland of North America. The race carolinensis of eastern United States can be distinguished from the western race, marginella, by the color of the wings alone, which makes possible the recognition of these racial components from the wings of doves taken from hunters? bags.....Taking Ridgway?s account in ?Birds of North and Middle America? as a basis, discrepancies in the descriptions of sex and racial characters are pointed out. Two races recognized by Ridgway and one suggested as possibly distinct were not substantiated. The occurrence of dark and pale types among the West Indian populations are considered of possible racial significance, but sufficient breeding material is lacking to study the problem satisfactorily.....The allocation of type specimens and names to the various recognizable races which appears in the most recent literature is considered satisfactory. The ecological boundaries between tropical and temperate life zones and between the western grasslands and eastern deciduous forest zones, generally speaking, separate distinct races from each other.....There is an extensive postbreeding wandering of birds in all directions, particularly northward, and there is an extensive mingling of racial types during migration. Concentrations of fall migrants occur in certain areas in the southwestern states and both east and west of the Gulf of Mexico.
Additional Publication Details
Distribution and migration of races of the mourning dove