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Inca Dove

ID Info
  • Inca Dove
  • Inca Dove
  • Inca Dove  video
Silhouette DovesDoves
Inca DoveColumbina inca
  • ORDER: Columbiformes
  • FAMILY: Columbidae

Basic Description

The tiny Inca Dove is covered in tan scaly-looking feathers and blends right in with its suburban desert habitats. That is, until it bursts into flight, making a dry rattling whir with its wings while flashing chestnut underwings and white in its tail. It nods its head forward and back with each step and coos a mournful "no hope" from the trees. In recent years, this dove has expanded to the north and is now being seen as far north as Colorado, perhaps due to increased human settlement.

More ID Info
image of range map for Inca Dove
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Despite this bird’s repeated calls of “no hope,” there is hope of seeing them, as they are not shy. In the U.S., Inca Doves only occur in the Southwest, but they are expanding their range, tend to live near people, and are not habitat specialists. A stroll through a town or farm at any time of day is likely to turn up a few Inca Doves. They tend to hang out in open areas near buildings where they forage on the ground. If you don't see them at first, try walking through dusty open areas in a park and they may startle you as they flush at your approach. They usually fly to a nearby tree, so even if they do flush you still have a chance of seeing one. They also visit feeders regularly, so stop by a feeder or put one up to bring them to you.

Other Names

  • Tortolita Mexicana (Spanish)
  • Colombe inca (French)

Backyard Tips

In the Southwestern U.S., Inca Doves frequently visit ground and platform feeders. Learn more about what types of feeders and seeds to use on Project FeederWatch. Planting native trees and shrubs around your yard can provide Inca Doves with places to rest and nest.

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