It breeds from southern Canada to Central America and the Caribbean, laying two white eggs on a flimsy platform built in a tree or shrub, sometimes on a building. These birds may raise six or more broods in a season.
It is resident and abundant over much of its range, but many northern birds migrate south in winter. It is presumably Canadian birds which give rise to the very rare occurrences of this species in western Europe.
This is a small dove. It has a long tapered tail, and is greyish-brown above and pinkish below. The wings have black spotting, and the outer tail feathers are white. The male has bright purple-pink patches on the neck sides; these are less obvious in the female. Young birds have a scaly appearance.
This bird is found in a range of open and semi-open habitats. Its mournful woo-woo-woo call is familiar throughout its range, as is the whistling of its wings as it takes off.
These birds forage on the ground, mainly eating grains and seeds, rarely insects. They often swallow fine gravel to assist with digestion.