Zenaida graysoni Grayson, 1872

Socorro dove, Grayson's dove, Solitary dove (used by Grayson, 1872)



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Zenaida graysoni Lawrence, 1871 (incorrect attribution of authorship, see (Jehl & Parkes, 1983:559))


Conservation Status

Extinct in the wild

Last record: 1972

IUCN RedList status: Extinct in the Wild


Formerly endemic to Socorro Island in the Revillagigedo Islands (= Revillagigedo Archipelago), Mexico. It's extirpation from its natural habitat is believed to have been primarily caused by predation by feral cats (introduced in the early 1970's), overgrazing by sheep (introduced in 1869) and hunting (Brattstrom & Howell, 1956; Jehl & Parkes, 1983; BirdLife International, 2012). Given it's complete tameness it would have been at the mercy of the recently introduced feral cats which preyed upon it. Thus I feel confident in stating that even if overgrazing by sheep and any other possible causes of decline in the population did not exist apart from feral cats, that given it's tameness it would have gone extinct within a timeframe similar to what it did.

The last confirmed record of the species on Socorro island was in 1972, exactly 100 years after its scientific description (Grayson, 1872). It now survives only in a handful of zoos around the world. The total world population (excluding hybrids with the Mourning dove, which number more than one hundred (Koch, 2012)) is around 100 birds, making it one of the world's most critically endangered species and in need of urgent conservation to ensure that it does not become extinct any time soon.

Two chicks recently hatched after being attended to as eggs by a surrogate pair of European turtle doves, whose track record of incubating eggs to hatching is much better than that of Socorro doves themselves (Koch, 2012). Sadly, however, one of the chicks later died of unknown causes.



Socorro Island, Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico


Biology & Ecology







Above: ringed individual in the Frankfurt Zoo. Photo by Nasser Halaweh in 2017. Source: Wikimedia Commons.



Original scientific description:

Grayson, A. J. (1872). List of Socorro birds collected by A. J. Grayson, May, 1867. Proc. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist. 14: 290-302.


Other references:

Anthony, A. W. (1898). Avifauna of the Revillagigedo Islands. Auk 15: 311-318.

Baptista, L. F. and Martínez-Gómez, J. E. (1996). El programa de reproducción de la Paloma de la Isla Socorro, Zenaida graysoni. Ciencia y Desarrollo 22: 30-35.

Bell, D. A.; Yanga, S.; Martinez-Gomez, J.E.; Pliego, P.E. (2005). Assessing disease risk to the Socorro Dove (Zenaida graysoni) from indigenous columbiformes on Socorro Island, Revillagigedo Archipelago, Mexico: final report.

Bell, D. A.; Yanga, S.; Martinez-Gomez, J.E.; Pliego, P.E. (2005). Assessing disease risk to the Socorro Dove (Zenaida graysoni) from indigenous columbiformes on Socorro Island, Revillagigedo Archipelago, Mexico: summary report and recommendations.

Bird, J.P., Martin, R., Akçakaya, H.R., Gilroy, J., Burfield, I.J., Garnett, S.G., Symes, A., Taylor, J., Şekercioğlu, Ç.H. and Butchart, S.H.M. 2020. Generation lengths of the world’s birds and their implications for extinction risk. Conservation Biology 34(5): 1252-1261.

BirdLife International. (2012). Zenaida graysoni. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. ( Downloaded on 22 September 2012.

BirdLife International. (2020). Zenaida graysoni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T22690740A178409463. Accessed on 10 June 2022.

Brattstrom,  B. H. and Howell, T. R. (1956). The birds of the Revilla Gigedo Islands, Mexico. Condor 58: 107-120.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. (1992). Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Dalrymple, S. E., Abeli, T., Ewen, J. G., Gilbert, T. C., Hogg, C. J., Lloyd, N. A., Moehrenschlager, A., Rodríguez, J. P. and Smith, D. (2023). Addressing Threats and Ecosystem Intactness to Enable Action for Extinct in the Wild Species. Diversity 15: 268.

del Hoyo, J., et al. (2020) Birds of the World. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA

Horblit, H.; Stadler, L.; Martinez-Gomez, J. E. (2006). The Socorro Dove as a flagship species for the restoration of the Revillagigedo Archipelago, México. Wings without borders: IV North American Ornithological Conference, October 3-7, 2006, Veracruz, Mexico, pp. 149. American Ornithologists' Union, Waco, TX, USA.

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

Jehl, Jr. Joseph R. and Parkes, Kenneth C. (1983). "Replacements" of landbird species on Socorro Island, Mexico. The Auk 100(3): 551-559.

Knox, Alan G. and Walters, Michael P. (1994). Extinct and endangered birds in the collections of The Natural History Museum. British Ornithologists' Club Occasional Publications 1: 1-292. [p. 142]

Koch, Emily. (2012). 'Extinct' bird hatches at Bristol Zoo. This is Bristol, Thursday, September 20. Available at [Accessed 22 September 2012]

Lawrence GN (1871) Ann Lyc Nat Hist 10:1–21

Martínez-Gómez. (2003). Returning the Socorro Dove to its ancestral home in Mexico. Reintroduction News [2003]: 24-25.

NABCI. 2016. The State of North America’s Birds 2016. In: Environment and Climate Change Canada (eds). Ottawa, Ontario.

Ortíz-Alcaraz, A.; Aguirre-Muñoz, A.; Arnaud, G.; Galina-Tessaro, P.; Rojas-Mayoral, E.; Méndez-Sánchez, F.; Ortego-Rubio, A. 2017. Progress in the eradication of the feral cat (Felis catus) and recovery of the native fauna on Socorro Island, Revillagigedo Archipelago, Mexico. Therya 8(1): 3-9.

Ortíz-Alcaraz, A., Maya-Delgado, Y., Cortés-Calva, P., Aguirre-Muñoz, A., Rojas-Mayoral, E., Cordoba-Matson, M.V. and Ortega-Rubio, A. 2016. Recovery of vegetation cover and soil after the removal of sheep in Socorro Island, Mexico. Forests 7(4).

Sayol, Ferran, Steinbauer, Manuel J., Blackburn, Tim M., Antonelli, Alexandre and Faurby, Søren. (2020). Anthropogenic extinctions conceal widespread evolution of flightlessness in birds. Science Advances 6(49): eabb6095. [Supplementary Material (Data File S1)]

Smith, Donal et al. (2023). Extinct in the wild: The precarious state of Earth’s most threatened group of species. Science 379(6634): eadd2889.

Song, H.; Weissman, D. B.; Barrientos-Lozano, L.; Cano-Santana, Z. (2006). The Locust Island. American Entomologist 52(3): 168-181.

Stattersfield, A. J.; Crosby, M. J.; Long, A. J.; Wege, D. C. (1998). Endemic bird areas of the world: priorities for bird conservation. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Villa R., B.  (1960).  Vertebrados terrestres. Pp. 203- 216 in La Isla Socorro, Monogr.  Inst. Geofisica, Univ.  Nac.  Autonoma  de  Mexico  no.  2.


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