Mourning Dove
(Zenaida macroura)


Picture of bird
© Jukka Jantunen (
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Mourning Dove is one of the most familiar and most heavily harvested migratory game bird in North America. This species is a common breeder in urban and rural areas across southern Canada, reaching its highest breeding densities within the Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain Region of Ontario and Quebec in the east, and within the Prairie Pothole Region of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The Mourning Dove is monitored in Canada through the Breeding Bird Survey. Results from this survey indicate that the population has increased markedly since 1970 but has levelled off during the most recent decade. An annual Mourning Dove hunting season has taken place in British Columbia since 1960, but harvest levels are a small fraction of their historical levels. A hunting season was opened in 2013 in Ontario and in 2016 in Quebec.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaModerate IncreaseHighAt an Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada5,000,000 - 50,000,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between late March and mid-May and ends between early August and mid-August, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.

Conservation and management

As a habitat generalist, the Mourning Dove has benefited by human-induced changes to both urban and rural landscapes (Otis et al. 2008). The species is a popular game bird in Mexico and Central America, as well as in the United States where 5-10% of the population is hunted annually (Otis et al. 2008). In Canada, there has been an annual hunting season in British Columbia since 1960 and in Ontario since 2013 (CWS Waterfowl Committee 2015). In 2016, a hunting season was opened in Quebec (CWS Waterfowl Committee 2016). Extensively studied, the Mourning Dove is known to experience frequent die-offs due to predation, hunting, adverse weather events, disease, and poisoning, but reproductive output has been sufficient to maintain or increase the population (Otis et al. 2008).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type