The mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) is a member of the dove family, Columbidae. The bird is also known as the American mourning dove, the rain dove, and colloquially as the turtle dove, and was once known as the Carolina pigeon and Carolina turtledove. It is one of the most abundant and widespread of all North American birds and a popular gamebird, with more than 20 million birds (up to 70 million in some years) shot annually in the U.S., both for sport and meat. Its ability to sustain its population under such pressure is due to its prolific breeding; in warm areas, one pair may raise up to six broods of two young each in a single year. The wings make an unusual whistling sound upon take-off and landing. The bird is a strong flier, capable of speeds up to .
Mourning doves are light gray and brown and generally muted in color. Males and females are similar in appearance. The species is generally monogamous, with two squabs (young) per brood. Both parents incubate and care for the young. Mourning doves eat almost exclusively seeds, but the young are fed crop milk by their parents. It is the national bird of the British Virgin Islands.