What are those really big doves in my yard?

Bird watchers from almost all of the lower 48 states and some of Alaska and Canada have found a new and quite large species of dove in their neighborhoods and yards. They are called Eurasian Collared-Doves because they are  the species of collared-doves that come from the continent of Eurasia (Europe and Asia). Besides their large size, they can be identified by the distinctive black collar on the back part of it’s neck,  darker wing tips, and tail that is not sharply pointed like those on Mourning Doves.

Eurasian Collared-Doves look similar to African Collared-Doves, a species sold as captive birds that escape or are turned loose. Often called Ringed Turtle-Doves, they can establish feral populations in some areas and they hybridize with Eurasian Collared-Doves making it difficult to distinguish the two species.

However, if you see the underside of their tails the Eurasian Collared-Doves have are grayish on their undertail areas with extensive black on the underside of their tail feathers, while the African Collared-Doves have white undertail areas have very limited black on the undersides of their tails. They can also readily be identified by their very different calls–listen to them on the Audubon Guides website.   As I type this I can hear one calling from my backyard.

Eurasian Collared-Doves were first seen in North America in Florida in the late 1970’s to early 1980’s. They had been released in the Bahamas in the mid-70’s and established there so it is thought that the birds got to Florida by natural means. Since then they have exploded across the United States only a few populated areas in north central and northeastern states and adjacent Canadian provinces not yet reporting them. They are associated with human populations including grain elevators where spilled grain in readily available as well as backyard bird feeders.

Many backyard bird watchers complain that the Eurasian Collared-Doves chase away the Mourning Doves from their feeders. These birds are larger than any of our native doves plus they ‘are also known to be aggressive and behaviorally dominant over similar species” according to an article about them by Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I personally want to feed native species so I do my best to exclude them from my feeders (I will post on some of my efforts in a later blog after I have more time to evaluate their effectiveness).

  • Do you have Eurasian Collared-Doves coming to your yard?
  • If so, where do live and how long have you had them?
  1. laurel Johnson says

    I live in central Iowa and have never had a problem with these wonderful birds, they have never tried to run off the other birds in the area and they sound so different it is nice to have something different in the yard.

    • Linda HIeter says

      I live in central Idaho in the Salmon River Canyon and for the last three years we have had a large population of pairs of the ringed neck turtle dove. I have a pair in my yard, but they are very shy and do not land too near. I have no bird feeders because there is abundant feed in our rural area. I don’t see any other posts about doves in this area.

  2. brandi sims says

    I live in Huntsville, Alabama. I have a pair that visit (and have for the past couple of years). They do occasionally run other birds off, but not excessively. I think they’re beautiful – well, I think *every* bird is, so I welcome them to my yard :)

  3. Barb Erbe says

    I live in western South Dakota and have had these in my yard for a few years now. I have had close to 20 birds at a time. They don’t seem to chase the other birds away. I was surprised that they stay here in the winter as it can get pretty cold here . The mourning doves are only here spring to early fall.

  4. says

    I live in Southwest Saskatchewan Canada. We noticed several Eurasian Collared Doves around our yard last summer (2012) and they have stayed all winter. It’s funny to see them eating with the red polls this time of year. I thought they would have migrated south for the winter.

  5. Dee Lytle says

    I live in Western Oregon in the Willamette Valley. We have had these collared doves for several years. We were putting out cracked corn for the quail and pheasants and acquired these doves in large numbers starting probably 4 years ago. They pretty much took over our yard and trees. During breeding season they became very noisy with their strange calls. The Mourning Doves stopped coming also. We have since stopped putting the corn out because of becoming over-run with these foreign doves. They are here year around. I would say it was not unusual to have 12-17 in the yard at one time.

  6. Lorena Holcombe says

    I live in Coal Creek Colorado. I have just noticed the doves in this area recently. I can’t remember seeing them last year .
    They are so pretty. I love hearing them and also watching them on my deck and near the bird feeders. I’m so glad to know what they are. Glad I found Birds and Blooms during my web search. Thank you.

    • says

      Hello Lorena,
      I live in a town near you and they have been here for well over 10 years. I don’t get up to Coal Creek very often but do look for birds in Rockvale occasionally and have seen Eurasian Collared-Doves there for some years. Now that you have them, you will most likely be seeing many, many more of them as they breed almost year round in our moderate climate.

  7. ladywingr says

    I live in Florida, south of Tampa Bay. I have been feeding birds here for the past 10+ years, and have had collared doves every year, as many as two dozen at a time. They will clean a feeder in a day – we call them “turkey” doves. I switched to squirrel “resistant” (HA!) feeders and this has eliminated the problem of these birds wiping out the seed. The blue jays, cardinals, titmouse, mourning doves and finches can all feed from these feeders and are much more prevalent since the collared doves are limited to ground feeding. I switched feeders a couple years ago, and generally only see a pair or two at a time now.

  8. cyndilulu says

    I live in Bay St Louis, MS the doves aren’t as bad as the Black Birds and the Bully Birds. Anyone able to give me a few suggestions on how to get out of my yard?

  9. says

    I live in Lake Charles, La between Baton Rouge, La and Beaumont, Tx. I have been seeing the doves in my yard for about two weeks now.

  10. Barbara Cook says

    I live in Cle Elum,WA, on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains. These doves have been visiting our yard and the surrounding area for a couple of years now. Sometimes there are between 15 and 16 doves sitting in our backyard trees.

  11. bjones says

    I live in Southwest Iowa and have only noticed a pair of Turtle Doves just this year. They seem to get along fine with the other birds I’m feeding and I hope to have more Turtle Doves coming to my feeders in the near future.

  12. Dave Watkin says

    We have a pair of the Doves which have stayed (so far) for the winter. Don’t appear aggressive, they eat and share the food we put out with the Junkos and the Chickadees quite happily. They also like the suet we hang in the apple tree! Always wondered where they where from since the local bird books don’t give any information about them.

  13. Jenny Heazell says

    there are a pair living a block away from my house, in Lethbridge, Alberta, and I have seen them for the past 4 years.

  14. Sonja Hawkins says

    I live in southeastern B.C. (Castlegar), and we’ve had these doves around here for the past 3 years, increasing in numbers as time goes on. This year some are nesting in a neighbour’s tree so I’m seeing, and hearing, them more. Coo, coo at 4 a.m. isn’t welcome! I haven’t noticed them being aggressive, but have seen the crows chasing them.

  15. Chris Hall says

    I have seen at least one, perhaps a pair at my feeders this spring. I live in Norco, a city in inland Southern California.

  16. Sherry says

    A pair has started visiting our backyard this year…no problems with them sharing the food…Pensacola, FL

  17. Nancy Norton says

    These look like the ones that showed up in our back yard for the first time last summer. They are ground feeders and don’t try to feed from the hanging feeders. We had up to a dozen off and on throughout the summer, some times just one lone one. I loved their cooo! But heard too many stories of hawks capturing them…. Haven’t seen or heard any yet this year. Vey skittish.

  18. Cindy Copeland says

    We have had these doves for probably 15 years. Usually in large numbers. They don’t bother the other birds as we have many varieties feeding year round. Big problem in winter is the red wing blackbird and brown headed cow bird. They take over the feeders.
    We live in south Louisiana

  19. Victoria says

    I live in Windsor, CA north of San Francisco and have seen these birds for the past two-three years. They come in as a flock, and roost in our redwoods. They only stay three-four weeks and leave. They are very skittish. As soon as someone walks outside, they take off. They frequent my birdbath, usually several at a time. So far, they haven’t been a problem because they don’t stay.

  20. Terri says

    We have them here in Tonasket, Wa. they showed up about 4 years ago i guess, and yes, they chase the mourning doves away, which is one of my favorite birds. :( we also noticed that the Western King birds built their nest in a different spot to avoid the doves. i don’t hate them, but i wish they would go away. lol they winter here, but move down from the hill we live on to the valley floor near the river.

  21. cljones says

    Charlotte, NC This is the first year we have seen these birds. We have a pair. Have not seen them being aggressive to any other birds.

  22. Bonnie R. says

    Suburban Mid-Willamette Valley Oregon~~We’ve had 2 to 4 ‘couples’ frequenting our backyard for 2 or 3 years, and enjoy them. They laze around all day in treetops or on power lines, swooping down as a group to dine on seed/nut/fruit mix on patio and lawn, side-by-side with squirrels, directly below the hanging small bird and hummingbird feeders. All seem quite happy with this arrangement.

  23. Sherry Sandifer says

    We have several of them In Walthall County of Mississippi .. Especially on the side of our country rodes.

  24. Elaine says

    I live in Meridian, Idaho. Have 1 pair that came here 3 years ago. They mingle very well with the morning doves when feeding. Not as afraid of us as they were the 1st year.

  25. Janis Wallace says

    I have a pair that frequent my bird feeders every morning. I live in Eas Texas and I have been seeing them all spring.

  26. Janet Smith says

    Olds, Alberta. Had them for one full year. Spent the 2013/2014 winter here then disappeared in March 2015. Sorry they left. Was nice to wake in the morning to their soft cooing.

  27. Gina Henoch says

    We live in Emporia, Kansas in the Eastern part of the state. They frequently eat off our feeders along with the White Winged and the Mourning Doves. They like to eat our Safflower seeds. They have such an enjoyable distinct sound. Beautiful birds.

  28. Andrea B says

    I live in Cape Coral Florida and have wondered what these large doves were. Thanks for the explanation

  29. CharlesH says

    not in my yard, but I have heard/seen them nesting in trees by the strip malls. Near Austin, TX

  30. pam says

    Just noticed these doves at my feeders this year. They don’t seem to bother any other birds. I live in lebanon, oregon on the santiam river

  31. Beth Wannamaker says

    Recently, for our first time noticing, that some of the doves that visit our yard here in central South Carolina are a good bit bigger than our regular doves. They come closer to being the size of pigeons. We were wondering about them. So glad to have come across this article. Helps explain what we are seeing.

  32. Lillian Smith says

    we live on a wheat ranch in Prosser Washington. We have had these Eurasian doves for about 8 years, They next several times each season. They have a tendency to fly into our windows while in mating season. Trying to show off while flying! So far no trouble with them chasing off my other birds. I enjoy their cooing in the morning.

  33. Colleen Campbell says

    We are in Highlands Ranch CO. I just saw this article as 2 were crawling along the fence. They had the band on the neck.

  34. Joyce Crawford says

    We had a pair at our feeders in Topeka, KS for the last two or three years that I know of. I cannot tell you whether they were African or Eurasian, as I recently moved from there.

  35. Virginia Claude says

    North Central Iowa: We have had small numbers of these Doves for 3 or 4 yrs. they seem to co-exist with other birds including our native Mourning doves.

  36. MarDee says

    I live in the NW part of our country…in the Portland, OR area.
    We’ve had those miserable things here now for about 3 years. They’ve driven off ALL the Mourning Doves. They’re quite territorial and from as near as I can tell, breed at least twice a year.

  37. Linda Wall says

    Mourning Doves are so peaceful to look at … I’ve got alot photos of them. They come into our yard daily … but they been coming here for years and they feed off the ground and don’t bother anyone… They love sunny in the sun … I love the sound they make its like purring sound.

  38. Sharon Ingle says

    We live in Luther, Okla. We first saw these doves last summer. They seem to get along fine with the other birds here. We have mourning doves & they all feed side by side just fine. Of course, it may be because we put feed all over the back yard & there is plenty for everybody.

  39. Kathryn Springer says

    I am in west Texas and we have had quite a few of these birds and have had no problem……they hang out with the hoards of white winged dove that live here. Occasionally there are bullies from each flock but they work it out ok. The cardinals, jays, finches and robins still show up regularly too.

  40. Snap Happy Creations says

    Mourning Doves are so peaceful to look at … I’ve got alot photos of them . They come into our yard daily … but they been coming here for years and they feed off the ground and don’t bother anyone… They love sunny in the sun … I love the sound they make its like purring sound. They are very peaceful to watch….

  41. beverly abeita says

    I’ve had several in my yard for 3/4 years now. They get fed and loved well around here. Central New Mexico

    • Karen Hanson says

      I live in Fremont, Nebraska. I have my morning doves come back every year, but this year I have been noticing that this pair of doves look unusually larger than the regular doves I have seen in the past. I will have to pay closer attention now. I’m guessing it could be the Eurasian doves.

  42. Vickie says

    I’m in Middle Tennessee. I’ve had 3 pair and 2 singles, making home in my back yard, for about 3 years now.

  43. says

    I have 4 of these big doves in my yard. I live in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, and I have
    not had a big problem with them. Yes, they
    seem to be ground feeders, so they keep their area cleaned up, which I appreciate.

  44. Cheryl says

    We have a pair of these doves in our area. They have been in this area for at least a year. I live in Southern Alberta. Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada.

  45. Carol Strowmatt says

    I live in Jacksonville,IL, saw them for the first time last year, they do come to the feeder, but don’t appear to be big bullies, I love seeing them.

  46. Joyce Stillings says

    Topeka Kansas……have had a couple if these at backyard feeder for 3 years….this year there are 3 or 4 of them….they feed calmly on the ground with my many small doves and other ground feeders.

  47. Larry Shipley says

    I have these doves in and around my yard in Decatur, Alabama.
    They have been around here for about five or so years.
    Year before last I had a pair to nest in my Ivy over my pond in the back yard.
    I think they are beautiful birds.

  48. Sabrina Grove says

    We have had them in central Montana for about 5 years. They are beginning to be as much of a nuisance and messy as pigeons.

  49. Ann Matthews says

    I have had the Eurasians for over 6 years now. On a harsh winter day I have seen as many as 40+. They have “adopted” my huge hopper feeder and tray with black oil sunflower in it. So much for not being seed cracking birds. They do however, do a lot of the cleaning up under feeders also.

  50. Gwendolyn Susan says

    I have a had a pair in my backyard for several weeks. I live in Aurora, CO. They have been very docile and non-aggressive to other birds. They’re really lovely.

  51. Susan Rose says

    I live in far northeastern Colorado (Sedgwick County) and have lived here for the past year. The Eurasian Collared Dove is the only dove species I have seen here. A local hunter told me it’s open season on them year-round.

  52. Kat says

    These guys have taken over the neighborhood where my cousin lives. Everyone in the neighborhood dislikes them. They are everywhere & when you go outside all you hear is them cooing constantly. I think their louder because there are so many of them. So much so that you seldom hear any other birds & very noticeable when your having a conversation outside. Doves are one of my favorite birds but these guys are just plain annoying in large quantities like they are in this instance. I live in the northwest side of Houston, TX

  53. Marie says

    I live near Phoenix Az and I’ve had these doves in my yard for at least 10 yrs. There were only 2 in the beginning. Now there are several. I’ve tried a variety of feeders because they will chase smaller birds and eat all the seed. I now use a cylinder type feeder with a very short perch. This dove cannot balance on the perch. Problem solved.

  54. Connie Pratt says

    I live in Ontario, Oregon. We’ve had them for about 3 Years. They have multiplied to a bigger population.

  55. Yvonne Lowe says

    I have had two pair here in Boulder, Montana for a few years now. I haven’t noticed any aggression whatsoever.
    They tend to eat off the ground for the spilled sunflower seeds. Perhaps my feeders don’t allow for their size. But they are mellow with the other birds that frequent the ground.
    I enjoy their soothing calls and pleasant demeanor.

  56. Laura says

    Have a pair in the neighborhood in Oregon City OR. So far they’ve been a bit shy, mainly stay in the next block

  57. says

    I live in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada The doves arrived last summer and liked to roost on the roof of my home overlooking the back yard. (which contains a stream, pond, pool, gazebo and 42 trees that I planted over 25 years ago. They hung around until fall. so far this year have not seen any.

  58. Cathy Baglole says

    We have had Eurasian doves in our yard in three hills, Alberta, Canada for the last three years. They stay all year. They do not seem to be aggressive to any of the other birds in our feeders

  59. Shelley Axtell says

    We have a pair at a ground feeder this summer. I watch them out the kitchen window. We also have lots of Mourning Doves. We live in Boise, Idaho. At first I thought these might be Rock Doves.

  60. Larry Kulesza says

    Howdy from NE Washington, Kettle Falls. Have heard the birds about town for about 4 years. Last year we started hanging some feeders for songbirds. This year I have been ground feeding and have California Quail, Collared Doves. Brewers’s Blackbirds and an occasional Crow among others. I have seen all of these birds feeding at the same time. Have not noticed any aggressive behavior on the part of the doves except among themselves.

  61. Donna Urquhart says

    I had a pair come in last spring they ate around my feeders and stayed around through out the summer l heard them call from the other side of the lake in the fall. A friend in town said they also had some come in the same week. I live in Williams Lake area of BC Canada

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