Socorro dove

Extinct in wild 1972

Animal Group: Bird
Regions: Americas
Sub-regions: Central America
Countries: Mexico

Completely extinct in the wild, the Socorro dove is a form of dove that is pretty much on its way out of the world. They are typically average in size in comparison to other doves, but have uncharacteristically long legs. Its colors represent a very similar style to that of the mourning dove, meaning that many people have mistaken these for the same creature in the past.

The females tend to be a little bit duller in color which made them easier to distinguish with in the past. Another species that looks very much like these creatures is found on the Clarion Island, more than 250 miles west of their most common habitat, Socorro, Mexico. This other bird is a subspecies of the mourning dove and bears a lot of similarities to the Socorro dove. The bird itself has lost many of its number, with less than 100 purebred birds still held in captivity.

Population Distribution

Made totally extinct in the wild by 1972, it was usually found in Socorro Island, off the western coast of Mexico. They were found here in abundance at one stage, although it was very rare to see more than one male and one female together at any one time. This was because feral cats and larger birds tended to wipe out their populations quite rapidly, so it was always to make sure that large groupings of these birds were never together at any one time.

Typically, they tended to stay in humid forests towards the end as they tried to escape the massive cats that would make meals of them. Before this though, they were found quite common in the lowlands within the 1950s. Their actual breeding habits, however, remain a mystery today outside of the fact that their incubation period lasted for around 17 days.


Today, their threat effectively comes from dying out. They are kept in captivity to try and preserve their lives for as long as possible, but their numbers have dwindled. In the wild their main threat was the large cats that would prowl the island looking for them – today, they are mostly found in zoos across the US and Germany. Cats returned to Socorro Island in the 1970s and this heralded the end of their birds as a main species. However, as of 2006 preparations were being made to re-introduce the creatures into the island again in specific, cat free environments.