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Socorro dove

Zenaida graysoni

Socorro dove at Paignton Zoo
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Birds
Order: Columbiformes
Family: Columbidae

The Socorro dove is extinct in the wild, so it now only lives in zoological collections. The species was native to Socorro Island off the west coast of Mexico until its last sighting in the wild in 1972. 

The bird mostly eats seeds, but also some fruits, berries and insects.

Interesting facts!

  • The species is mainly a ground dweller, searching for food among the vegetation.
  • Males are a deep rusty red colour, with females and juveniles tending to be duller.
  • Socorro doves are mostly solitary, other than coming together in a breeding pair. Males can be very territorial and will defend their home from strangers.


The loss of the species in the wild is a result of many threats, including overhunting, human settlement and overgrazing by sheep destroying their habitat. Since they were native to a remote island, Socorro doves never learnt to escape predatory mammals, so when cats were introduced to the island the dove population was significantly impacted.

Paignton Zoo is proud to be part of the EAZA ex-situ breeding programme (EEP) for the Socorro dove, successfully breeding the species in 2020.  A conservation effort is underway to re-introduce this bird to the island of Socorro.