SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER

SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER(Limnodromus griseus)

 The Short-billed dowitcher is a shorebird with a fairly long bill in spite of its name, that is about twice as long as its head. It is very similar to the Long-billed dowitcher and can be differentiated from the latter by its call. It is almost 30 cm long (12 in.). The breeding plumage is mottled brown on top with reddish tones for the under parts. The bill is black and the legs yellowish. The winter plumage is mainly grey.

The English name is from Iroquois and the Latin name refers to racing in a marsh, with the adjective ‘griseus’ meaning ‘grey’. The Latin name refers to the bird’s behavior when feeding in mud flats, inserting its bill vertically in search of invertebrates, like a sewing machine.

The short-billed dowitcher breeds in muskegs of the boreal forest and is only seen in PEI during migration, in the summer and the fall, where it can be very common. Its wintering range includes coastal habitats from the southern USA down to the northern part of South America.

Short-billed Dowitcher - Sunset Beach, NC - photo by Dick Daniels
Short-billed Dowitcher – Sunset Beach, NC – Dick Daniels
Short-billed dowitcher - Indian River area - Aug. 26, 2017 - © Chris Rice
Short-billed dowitcher – Indian River area – Aug. 26, 2017 – Chris Rice

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