Family Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Least Concern

Zenaida Dove (Zenaida aurita)


French: Tourterelle à queue carrée German: Liebestaube Spanish: Zenaida caribeña

Columba Aurita


, 1809,



Differs from congeners in having 12 (not 14) rectrices, but unquestionably belongs in this genus. Compared with Z. macroura, present species has shorter and much less graduated tail, proportionately larger legs and feet; very similar song, but with introductory note less frequency-modulated. Race salvadorii formerly listed as yucatanensis, but merging of genera Zenaida and Zenaidura made that name unavailable for this taxon. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • Z. a. salvadorii Ridgway, 1916 – coast of N Yucatán Peninsula and islands of Holbox, Cozumel and Mujeres.
  • Z. a. zenaida (Bonaparte, 1825) – Bahamas, Cuba and I of Pines, Cayman Is (Grand, Little, Brac) and Jamaica through Hispaniola and Puerto Rico to Virgin Is; formerly Florida Keys.
  • Z. a. aurita (Temminck, 1809) – Lesser Antilles from Anguilla (N Leeward Is) to Grenada.
  • Descriptive notes

    28–30·5 cm; male 110–194 g, female 95–180 g. Forehead, sides of neck and head cinnamon-coloured, a little paler and more buffy on the chin, and... read more


    Song similar to Z. macroura, a mournful cooing “whoo’” but slightly... read more


    Usually in lowlands, inhabiting open woodland, forest edge and clearings, as well as cultivated... read more

    Food and feeding

    Recorded feeding on fruits and seeds of 77 food species in Puerto Rico, of which most important plant species were Scleria lithosperma... read more


    Season Mar–Dec in Dominica, May–Aug in Virgin Is; in moist lower montane zone of Puerto Rico, nests throughout year with peak... read more


    Generally sedentary. Only present irregularly on Cozumel I, mainly Oct–Dec, where status... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common along N coast of Yucatán Peninsula, but rare to uncommon visitor to Cozumel I; also reported from Belize, but this... read more

    Recommended citation

    Baptista, L.F., Trail, P.W., Horblit, H.M., Boesman, P., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Zenaida Dove (Zenaida aurita). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 January 2020).