E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Zenaida asiatica (Linnaeus, 1758)
White-winged Dove; White-Winged Dove
Family: Columbidae
Photo of species

© Alan Wilson  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #6546)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Zenaida asiatica in British Columbia
Details about map content are available here.


Status and Occurrence of White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica) in British Columbia

by Rick Toochin and Don Cecile

Read the full article with photos here.

Introduction and Distribution

The White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica) is a small dove found in the deserts of the southwestern United States from southeastern California, extreme southern Nevada, extreme southwestern Utah, the southern half of Arizona, southern New Mexico, and southern half of Texas (absent from eastern quarter of state, except locally along coast), south to Mexican border; also found in southwestern Louisiana, and in southeastern Florida (Schwertner et al. 2002, Dunn and Alderfer 2011). The population is currently expanding, and the species is regularly observed outside its core range limits (Schwertner et al. 2002). South of the U.S. border, the White-winged Dove is found throughout Mexico to southern Baja California, central Veracruz, Michoacán, and Guerrero; northern Yucatán Peninsula; Pacific slopes of Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico (Howell and Webb 2010). This southern range extends into the southern half of Guatemala, El Salvador, western and central Honduras (except absent from Caribbean coast), Pacific slope of Nicaragua, northwestern Costa Rica (south to about Jacó and up to 500 m), and along Pacific slope of Panama in Herrera and southwestern Coclé provinces, mainly around the Gulf of Parita (Schwertner et al. 2002, Howell and Webb 2010). This species is also found on several islands in Gulf of California, Is. Tres Marias, and I. Cozumel (Howell and Webb 2010). It is found in the Bahamas, eastern Cuba, Grand Cayman Is., San Andrés and Providencia, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, St. Croix, and it is rare on St. John (Schwertner et al. 2002). The range of the White-winged Dove is currently expanding eastward and northward in the Great Plains (Schwertner et al. 2002, Dunn and Alderfer 2011).

The White-winged Dove winters throughout its breeding range, except the breeding range in California, Nevada, Utah, and western Arizona which is largely abandoned during the winter (Schwertner et al. 2002). It also winters outside its breeding range in southwestern California and along the California coast from San Diego County, north to Santa Barbara County, and rarely north to Humboldt County (Small 1994). The White-winged Dove also winters in its breeding range in north and through north-central Texas, in southern Louisiana, along the Gulf Coast from Mississippi to Florida, and throughout the central and southern Florida Peninsula (Schwertner et al. 2002). It also winters along the Atlantic Coast from North Carolina to southern Georgia, where it is rare, but increasing, each year (Schwertner et al. 2002). In Mexico, the White-winged Dove winters from central Veracruz, Michoacán, and Guerrero east to northwestern Oaxaca, Tabasco, and western Campeche (Howell and Webb 2010). It also occurs further south into central Belize (Howell and Webb 2010). Individuals from the United States and northern Mexico migrate as far south as Costa Rica and Panama (Schwertner et al. 2002). In many tropical areas, migration may occur attitudinally, although this has not been definitively established (Schwertner et al. 2002).

Along the west coast, the White-winged Dove is a casual vagrant north of its breeding range (Roberson 1980). There are 23 accepted records by the Oregon Bird Records Committee (OFO 2012). In Washington, there are only 9 accepted records by the Washington Bird Records Committee (Wahl et al. 2005, WBRC 2013). In British Columbia, the White-winged Dove is an accidental species with just over a dozen Provincial records (Campbell et al. 1990b, Toochin et al. 2014, see Table 1 and 2). In Alaska, the White-winged Dove is an accidental species with only 1 State record (West 2008). The White-winged Dove is an accidental species in the rest of Canada with records from northern Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland (Godfrey 1986, Schwertner et al. 2002). It is a casual species in the rest of the United States outside of its breeding range (Dunn and Alderfer 2011).

Occurrence and Documentation

The White-winged Dove is an accidental species in British Columbia with 16 Provincial records (Toochin et al. 2014, see Table 1). The vast majority of the records come from Vancouver Island with 12 records (Toochin et al. 2014, see Table 1). There is a photographed record from Vancouver (R. Cannings Pers. Comm.). Although it appears to be a valid record, there is no clear date or information associated with this observation (R. Cannings Pers. Comm.). There are 3 records for the interior of British Columbia (Toochin et al. 2014, see Table 1). The timing of the records is interesting in that there are two distinct periods when this species occurs (Toochin et al. 2014, see Table 1 and 2). The first is in the summer between June and August (Toochin et al. 2014, see Table 1 and 2). These are likely non breeding adults that end up wandering north (Schwertner et al. 2002). The other time period is in the fall between October and November (Toochin et al. 2014, see Table 1 and 2). These birds are likely lost immature birds that headed north instead of south (Schwertner et al. 2002). The records for these periods is relatively even with no one month standing out (Toochin et al. 2014, see Table 1 and 2). The occurrences definitely point to the fact that this species is possible at any time of year since there are documented winter records for the Province (Toochin et al. 2014, see Table 1 and 2).

The White-winged Dove has undergone a large range expansion over the past few decades (Schwertner et al. 2002). This expansion northward has been along both Pacific and Atlantic Coasts (Schwertner et al. 2002). Expansion and post breeding season dispersal may be associated with moderate climates and food sources such as back yard feeding stations (Schwertner et al. 2002). Many of the records for British Columbia and other extralimital records come from backyard bird feeding stations (Toochin et al. 2014, see Table 1). It is believed by some authorities that the concentration of human urban areas, supplemental fossil-fuel heat sources, the absorption and radiation of solar energy from asphalt and concrete, and backyard bird feeding stations may account for the expansion of the White-winged Dove up to 650 km north of its known nineteenth-century range (Schwertner et al. 2002). This species in British Columbia has steadily increased in the past 20 years and shows no sign of stopping with birds turning up as recently as September 20, 2014, with a photographed bird in Shirley on Vancouver Island (Toochin et al. 2014, see Table 1). Despite Vancouver Island having the bulk of the Provincial records, this species is likely to occur again in the interior, especially in desert areas that are similar to its home range in the southern United States. Observers and feeder watchers alike are likely to find future records because the White-winged Dove has a habit of using bird feeders on a regular basis (Schwertner et al. 2002).

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeSNAAccidentalNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2024-04-12 5:25:46 PM]
Disclaimer: The information contained in an E-Fauna BC atlas pages is derived from expert sources as cited (with permission) in each section. This information is scientifically based.  E-Fauna BC also acts as a portal to other sites via deep links.  As always, users should refer to the original sources for complete information.  E-Fauna BC is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of the original information.

© E-Fauna BC 2021: An initiative of the Spatial Data Lab, Department of Geography, UBC