Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
White-winged Dove - Zenaida asiatica
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General Comments The White-winged Dove is a common and well-known migratory game bird from Texas west to Arizona. However, a separate population has been established (released?) in Florida. Some of the many records for North Carolina, especially those in late fall, probably relate to the wild birds from the Southwest straying farther eastward than expected (a la the Cave Swallow). However, records for spring, summer, and early fall more likely pertain to Florida-derived birds expanding their range northward. In fact, a pair has nested at least once in Beaufort, and that pair or others have been seen in that town in other summers, suspected of nesting. Thus, not only is the Eurasian Collared-Dove spreading north from Florida, but so is the White-winged Dove, in smaller numbers. Most White-winged Doves in the state are seen near or along the coast, often seen in open or semi-open areas, particularly in towns, or on telephone wires in open coastal habitats.
Breeding Status Accidental Breeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SZ
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Transient, and accidental to casual breeder, mainly coastally. Formerly, a very rare to rare fall migrant to the immediate coast, mainly Nov to early Dec. Now (2022), a rare visitor along the coast and immediately inland, covering essentially all months of the year. Has bred at Beaufort. One offshore record -- one landed on a NOAA vessel off Dare on 18 Jul 2013. Tidewater and farther inland: casual to now very rare visitor from Sep to Feb, with notable records at Pantego (Beaufort) on 17 Apr 1998 and in Camden on 27 Apr 2022. Peak counts: 3, Beaufort, several dates in 1998 (relating to the breeding pair and offspring).
Piedmont Casual visitor; eight published records, scattered over the region. Most are of single individuals from 2003-2005, except for 2 birds at Hillsborough 6-13 Sep 1963 (if correctly identified), one near Lilesville (Anson) in early Jul 2016, and one at a feeder in northeastern Randolph on 12 Jun 2022. All but one of the recent records were in the warmer months (mid-Apr to mid-Sep); these birds most likely relate to the Florida population. The only winter report is of a bird shot by a hunter near Falls Lake, 18 Dec 2010 [Chat 75:71 link].
Mountains Accidental; two reports -- neither yet reviewed by the NC BRC. One seen at Brevard College (Transylvania) from 24-28 Mar 2012, as reported on an eBird list. One seen in the Nantahala National Forest at Cullowhee (Jackson), on 16 May 2020 [Chat 84:92 link].
Finding Tips Driving around Beaufort might yield a White-winged Dove. Otherwise, one to several typically turn up at feeders along the coast in most years, so keep attuned to rare bird alerts.
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Attribution LeGrand[2022-12-22], LeGrand[2022-09-12], LeGrand[2021-05-17]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.
NC Breeding Season Map
Map depicts assumed breeding season abundance for the species.