Is A Mourning Dove A Turtle Dove

A mourning dove and a turtle dove are not the same species. However, they bear some similarities in appearance and behavior that often lead to confusion.

The mourning dove is native to North America, with its soft-toned, grayish-brown plumage, while the turtle dove, primarily found in Europe, is recognized for its warmer-colored feathers and a distinctly different pattern. Despite these differences, misconceptions often arise due to the similarities between the two species, underlining the importance of understanding their unique features and habitats.

Comparing Turtle Doves and Mourning Doves

Birds are fascinating creatures, each with their unique traits and features. Among them, turtle doves and mourning doves often intrigue birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. Although seemingly similar, these two species have distinct characteristics. In this listicle, let’s unravel the key differences between turtle doves and mourning doves.

Size and Appearance

Size and color often serve as identifiers in the bird world. Typically, turtle doves have a smaller body size compared to mourning doves. They’re recognized by warmer-colored feathers on their wings and body. In contrast, mourning doves have more muted grayish-brown plumage, making them blend seamlessly into their North American habitats.

Habitat Preferences

Our next stop is their habitats. Turtle doves are predominantly found in Europe, Asia, and Africa, favoring woodlands, farmlands, and parks. On the other hand, mourning doves thrive across North America in environments ranging from grasslands and forests to urban areas.

Distinct Social Behaviors

Behaviorally, both species are social, often forming flocks. However, turtle doves showcase a more migratory nature compared to mourning doves, who tend to be more resident in their habitats.

Dietary Choices

Fifth on our list are dietary preferences. Both bird species mainly feast on seeds. However, mourning doves are slightly more adventurous eaters, including grains and small insects in their diet.

Symbolic Meanings

Lastly, both birds have symbolic meanings in various cultures. Turtle doves are often associated with chastity and fidelity, while mourning doves symbolize peace, purity, and the spirit’s journey in many Native American cultures.

While turtle doves and mourning doves share similarities, they’re indeed distinct species with unique traits. Understanding these characteristics and differences allows us to appreciate the fascinating world of birds more deeply. So, next time you spot one of these birds, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at!

Misconceptions and Clarifications

Many misconceptions and similarities between turtle doves and mourning doves often lead to confusion among observers. Addressing these misconceptions and providing clarifications not only enhances our understanding but also enables us to appreciate the complexities and beauty of these bird species.


Turtle doves and mourning doves, while sharing some similarities in appearance and behavior, are truly distinct species. By delving deeper into their differences and clarifying common misconceptions, we foster a better understanding and appreciation of these captivating birds.