Status: Uncommon regular summer visitor statewide (south of dashed line on map). Rare casual breeder statewide. Rare casual winter visitor statewide.
Documentation: Photograph: 11-16 May 1994 Lincoln, Lancaster Co (Gubanyi 1996a).
Taxonomy: Three subspecies are recognized (Clements et al 2016): mearnsi of the southwest US and western Mexico, asiatica of the southern US to Nicaragua and the West Indies, and australis of western Costa Rica and Panama.
The subspecies occurring in Nebraska has not been determined; mearnsi has been recorded northeast to Ontario and asiatica as far north as Colorado (Pyle 1997). Northward expansion of the species appears to involve a mix of subspecies (Pruett et al 2000).
Changes Since 2000: Records of this species have increased markedly as it expands its range northward and eastward into Nebraska and is now (2019) of regular occurrence in summer. The first breeding record was as recent as 2005.
Summer: Mar 19,20,24 <<<>>> Sep 25,30, Oct 10
The first documented record of the species was 11-16 May 1994 at Malcolm, Lancaster Co (Gubanyi 1996a; Brogie 1997, 1998), followed by one in Scottsbluff, Scotts Bluff Co 15-21 Apr 1995 (Gubanyi 1996b) and a series of sightings in Kearney, Buffalo Co beginning in early Jun 1998 (Roger Newcomb, pers. comm., Brogie 1999). There was a report of three birds at the Kearney location, including “apparent juveniles” early May-Jul 2001 (Roger Newcomb, pers. comm.), but no further details were provided. Multiple reports per year began in 2003, and since then there have been several reports each year across the state, generally of single birds until 2009, when reports of two birds together began; reports of multiple birds together have continued to date. Annual totals of 15+ began in 2008., and reached 20+ in 2019.
A few birds have wintered, with only nine such records (see Winter); numbers decline rapidly after Sep and most have left the state by Nov.
There are six records of successful breeding. The first for the state (Mollhoff 2005; Brogie 2006) was of a juvenile bird downed by a storm and photographed at Albion, Boone Co 21 Jun 2005 (Don and Colleen Noecker, pers. comm.); plumage characteristics suggested it was fledged locally. Adults were at this location earlier in the summer and a pair with a juvenile were seen at a feeder (Mollhoff 2005). One bird appeared at the same location in Albion 23 Apr 2006 and it was seen carrying nest material and was heard singing 25 May; a pair was present 30 May and by 26 Jul the pair was tending a young bird (Mollhoff 2006). The second breeding record was a pair and a juvenile in Lincoln 11 Jul 2007, and the third record was of two juveniles with adults in Kearney 10 Jul 2014. Fourth was of a pair that brought four juveniles to a feeder in Aurora, Hamilton Co 19 Sep 2016. Fifth and sixth were at a rural location near Mead, Saunders Co; a pair appeared in early Jun 2017 (Jane Hollst, pers. comm.) and was incubating by 8 Jul; by 29 Jul it was thought that two pairs of adults were present, along with at least three juveniles (Clem Klaphake, pers. comm.). By 15 Sep, the last date the birds were seen, there was only a family group of four. At this location in 2018, 9, including juveniles, were at the feeders 3 Sep; 1-2 had been present “most of the summer”.
Nesting was also reported in 2013 and 2015, but it is not known whether these attempts were successful: as many as four were in Brady, Lincoln Co beginning 5 May 2013; although nest-building was observed, no evidence of successful breeding was observed. One bird first observed on the University of Nebraska-Kearney campus, Buffalo Co 13 Mar 2015 was incubating by 18 Mar and present through 9 Sep, but no outcome was reported. One arrived at Culbertson, Hitchcock Co 16 Apr 2015, and a pair was nesting by 31 May, but no outcome was reported. A very fresh juvenile was photographed at Beatrice, Gage Co 25 Aug 2016; no other White-winged Doves were present. As many as eight attending a feeder in Ogallala, Keith Co through at least late Nov 2017 probably bred there.
Winter: This species leaves the northernmost parts of its summer range in winter (Schwertner et al 2002). Nebraska reports are few after Sep, fewest in Feb-early Mar, with only nine confirmed records of overwintering, four of those during the winter 2015-2016. Of the nine records, five were at the same Gering, Scotts Bluff Co yard; the first record was of 1-3 there 4 Dec-21 Feb 2009-2010, three there on 20 Dec 2014, declining to one by 26 Jan 2015 which remained until 19 Mar, one there in winter 2015-2016, one there until 1 Feb 2017, and one there 25 Dec-17 Feb 2017-2018 (Ruben Siegfried, pers. comm.). Elsewhere, the only Feb-early Mar wintering reports are of one in a Kearney yard that was joined by a second bird 21 Jan 2016, one in an Ogallala, Keith Co yard 2015-2016, as many as three (on 22 Jan) in an Aurora, Hamilton Co yard, also in 2015-2016, one in a North Platte yard 17-19 Feb 2018 that was “surviving the winter somehow” and another there 23 Feb 2019. During winter 2018-2019, there were several reports 13 Dec-31 Jan, suggestive of unsuccessful overwintering attempts; surviving until Jan were singles in the Fremont, Dodge Co area 17 Dec-31 Jan and up to five at a North Platte, Lincoln Co location 16 Dec-19 Jan. Also in 2018-2019, one was in Lancaster Co 13 Dec and three were at Ogallala, Keith Co 30 Dec.
Comments: When nesting activity ceases for the most part in early Aug, White-winged Doves gradually form increasingly larger flocks. This is coupled with a general northward post-nesting movement (Schwertner et al 2002). A notable concentration of sightings, including possible breeding, has occurred in Kearney since 1998; interestingly, Eurasian Collared-Doves appeared there at the same time, raising the possibility that the numbers of collared-doves in Kearney attracted White-winged Doves to the area. At least one hybrid between the species has been noted in Texas (Charmaine Ganson, pers. comm.).
Brogie, M.A. 1997. 1996 (Eighth) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 65: 115-126.
Brogie, M.A. 1998. 1997 (Ninth) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 66: 147-159.
Brogie, M.A. 1999. 1998 (Tenth) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 67: 141-152.
Brogie, M.A. 2006. 2005 (17th) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 74: 69-74.
Gubanyi, J.G. 1996a. 1994 (Sixth) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 64: 38-42.
Gubanyi, J.G. 1996b. 1995 (Seventh) Report of the NOU Records Committee. NBR 64: 132-138.
Mollhoff, W.J. 2005. The 2005 Nebraska nest report. NBR 73: 119-123.
Mollhoff, W.J. 2006. The 2006 Nebraska nest report. NBR 74: 142-147.
Pruett, C.L., S.E. Henke, S.M. Tanksley, M.F. Small, K.M. Hogan, J. Roberson. 2000. Mitochondrial DNA and morphological variation of White-winged Doves in Texas. Condor 102: 871-880.
Pyle, P. 1997. Identification Guide to North American Birds. Part I, Columbidae to Ploceidae. Slate Creek Press, Bolinas, California, USA.
Schwertner, T. W., H. A. Mathewson, J. A. Roberson and G. L. Waggerman. 2002. White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica). The Birds of North America, Number 710.
Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2018. White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica), Version 1.0. In Birds of Nebraska — Online. www.BirdsofNebraska.org
Birds of Nebraska – Online