The Rio Grande Valley is home to a fascinating variety of doves. While some like the White-wing are well known, others are more secretive. Richard Moore introduces us to the beautiful Doves of South Texas.
Deep South Texas is home to several species of doves, and the most abundant is the Mourning dove. They gather in large numbers at ranch country ponds in the mornings and evenings.
If you catch one in just the right light, you will behold a flash of shimmering iridescent colors on the neck. They are trim bodied birds with long tapering tails. The overall plumage is subtle brown with a spattering of black spots on the upper wings of the adults.
Residing with the White-wing and Mourning dove in the Valley outdoors is the White-tipped dove. This plump dove is slightly larger than a White-wing with a gray-brown back and pale under parts. Its rounded tail has white corners hence its name White-tipped dove.
The large White-tipped dove dwarfs the diminutive Ground dove. This chunky little dove at six inches is the smallest of all our native doves. Slightly larger than a sparrow, the ground dove sports a short blackish tail, and like its name implies is primarily terrestrial.
Measuring only eight inches long and weighing less than two ounces, the Inca doves gray body feathers have dark edges imparting a rather scaly appearance distinguishing them from other doves.
Joining these native doves is a new arrival; the Eurasian collared-dove, which was first documented in Texas in 1995 and is now found throughout the state.