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Short-billed Dowitcher

Limnodromus griseus ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: SCOLOPACIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A medium to large shorebird with a long bill, the Short-billed Dowitcher is a common and conspicous migrant that uses a "sewing-machine" method of foraging across the mud flats. Its long bill is short only in comparison with the very similar Long-billed Dowitcher.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
9.8–11.4 in
25–29 cm
Weight
3.2–4.2 oz
90–120 g
Other Names
  • Bécassin roux (French)
  • Agijeta gris, Costurero pico corto (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The nest and eggs of this species eluded discovery until 1906, and even that information was overlooked for a long while because they were attributed to the Long-billed Dowitcher. The nesting grounds of the eastern race were not discovered until the late 1950s.
  • Although both sexes share incubation of the eggs, only the male takes care of the young once they hatch.

Habitat


Marsh

  • Breeds in muskegs of taiga to timberline, and barely onto subarctic tundra.
  • Winters on coastal mud flats and brackish lagoons.
  • In migration prefers saltwater tidal flats, beaches, and salt marshes.
  • Found in freshwater mud flats and flooded agricultural fields.

Food


Insects

Aquatic invertebrates. On breeding grounds eats fly larvae, other insects, snails, and some seeds.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
4 eggs
Egg Description
Light greenish-brown or live green with brown spotting of various intensity, always denser at the large end.
Condition at Hatching
Downy chicks able to walk immediately, can swim as soon as they are dry. Leave nest when all are hatched. Not fed by parents.
Nest Description

Nest a simple bowl in thick vegetation, usually on top of a clump of sedge, lined with dried grass, leaves, twigs, and ptarmigan feathers.

Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Probing

Male sings in flight on breeding grounds.Probes deeply into soft substances to the depth of the bill, sometimes submerging the head. Food is captured and swallowed under the mud, except for worms, which are pulled to the surface. Feeds in water up to the depth of the belly.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

No special status.

Credits

  • Jehl, J. R., Jr., J. Klima, and R. E. Harris. Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus). In The Birds of North America, No. 564 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Range Map Help

Short-billed Dowitcher Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings