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Short-billed Dowitcher


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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Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • A medium-sized shorebird with a bill twice as long as its head.
  • Moderately long, pale legs.

Immature Description

Juvenal plumage with buffy chest and flanks, less spotting and barring than breeding adults. Back feathers dark centered with broad buffy edges, giving a slightly scaly appearance. Tertials dark with orange pattern inside ("tiger-striped").

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Similar Species

  • Wilson's Snipe has similar proportions, but has dark rump and tail and golden stripes down back.
  • Stilt Sandpiper has longer legs, a shorter, slightly down-curved bill, and a white rump that does not extend up the back.
  • Long-billed Dowitcher is extremely similar and difficult to distinguish in most plumages. Juvenile long-billed lacks the tiger-striping in the tertials, and has plain gray ones instead.