White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica)

White-winged Dove


The white-winged dove (Zenaida asiatica) is a dove whose native range extends from the Southwestern United States through Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. They are large for doves, and can be distinguished from similar doves by the distinctive white edge on their wings. They have a blue eyering, and red eyes. The plumage is brownish-gray to gray. Juveniles are duller in color, and have brown eyes. The call is likened to English phrase "who cooks for you". There are three subspecies. It was first described by George Edwards in 1743, and given its binomial name by Linnaeus in 1756. It was moved into the genus Zenaida in 1838.

Distribution And Habitat

The White-winged Dove occurs through southern North America, Central America, and western South America (Bond 1961, Raffaele and others 1998). In the West Indies, it can be found in The Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, the Cayman Islands, San Andrés, Providencia, Puerto Rico, St. Croix, St. John (Raffaele and others 1998), and St. Thomas. The species was first recorded on Puerto Rico in 1943 (Raffaele 1989a) and has since expanded its range throughout the island. It first occurred on Vieques in 1971 (Sorrié 1975) where it is now an abundant breeding resident (Gemmill 2015). This species occurs mostly in gardens, agricultural areas, mangroves, dry scrub forest (Oberle 2018), and open woodlands (Raffaele and others 1998, Saliva 1994). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 966 records within 412 hexagons or 86 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 412 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 20 percent (82) of the hexagons, probable in 39 percent (162), and possible in 41 percent (168) (see map). White-winged Dove distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding. 61White-winged Dove/Tórtola Aliblanca

White-winged Dove Distribution

Breeding Habits

Previously published reports indicate that the White-winged Dove breeds throughout the year in urban areas and from April to June in arid zones (Raffaele and others 1998). It mostly breeds colonially and builds a frail nest made of twigs and grasses, usually placed at a low to moderate height (Raffaele and others 1998). Atlas results show that this species breeding season extends throughout the year with the most breeding activity from March to June (see chart). The breeding activity peaks in May at the onset of the rainy season, and it mostly takes place in the subtropical moist forest life zone (see chart). Results show that this species breeds mostly within the subtropical moist forest life zone (60 percent of the hexagons) (see table). It also breeds in the subtropical dry forest life zone (21 percent of the hexagons) and at higher elevations within the subtropical wet and lower montane wet forest life zones (19 percent of the hexagons) (see table and map).


The current population trend of the White-winged Dove is described as increasing in North America (Butcher and Niven 2007). This species is currently listed as a species of Least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2016). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the White-winged Dove has a protected habitat in land of 12 percent or 1230 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (9853 km2).