Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus)

Long-billed Dowitcher

[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Scolopacidae | [latin] Limnodromus scolopaceus | [UK] Long-billed Dowitcher | [FR] Becassine a long bec | [DE] Grosser Schlammlaufer | [ES] Agujeta escolopa | [NL] Grote Grijze Snip


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

A snipe-like, long-billed shorebird with white lower back and rump, black and white checkered tail, dark bill, green legs. Summer adults have reddish underparts (including belly), with barring on breast, sides, and flanks, and reddish edges on feathers of upperparts. Winter birds gray overall, with pale eyebrow and white lower back and rump.
The female has a longer bill than the male. The Long-billed in breeding plumage usually has some barring rather than spotting on the side of its breast in front of the wing. Long-billed Dowitchers are usually found in smaller flocks than Short-billeds, but huge flocks of Short-billed Dowitchers often include a few Long-billed Dowitchers. Long-billed Dowitchers feed by probing their long bills into mud or shallow water. Their bills are full of nerve endings, useful for sensing prey. They walk along slowly, lifting their heads up and down like a sewing machine. The call is a high peeping sound, usually a single call, but sometimes repeated.

Listen to the sound of Long-billed Dowitcher

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/L/Long-billed Dowitcher.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 42 cm wingspan max.: 47 cm
size min.: 27 cm size max.: 30 cm
incubation min.: 20 days incubation max.: 21 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 21 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


Eurasia : Northeast, also Alaska


During migration and winter, Long-billed Dowitchers are usually found on fresh water marshes and sometimes in coastal areas. They are often found on drying lakeshores. In coastal habitats, they are usually in small pools with salt-marsh vegetation. They breed farther north and west than Short-billeds, in grass- or sedge-dominated tundra marshes in Arctic coastal regions in Alaska.


Long-billed Dowitchers usually nest on the ground near water. The nest itself is a fairly deep scrape in a clump of moss or grass, lined with sedge or grass. The bottom of the nest is often damp. Both parents incubate the four eggs for 21 to 22 days. The young leave the nest within a day of hatching and find their own food. Both parents help tend the young at first, but the female may abandon the group soon after they hatch. The male probably stays with the young until they are close to fledging at 20-30 days. Each pair raises a single brood per year.

Feeding habits

On the breeding grounds, Long-billed Dowitchers eat insects and insect larvae. On mudflats they also eat mollusks, crustaceans, marine worms, and other aquatic invertebrates


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Long-billed Dowitcher status Least Concern


Migratory, wintering (apparently including Siberian breeders) from southern USA (California east to Florida) south to Guatemala. Main southward passage July-September; some birds make long south-eastern movements towards Atlantic coast. Return passage April-May. Long-billed Dowitchers migrate medium distances, not as far as Short-billeds. Some first-year birds stay on the wintering grounds in summer.

Distribution map

Long-billed Dowitcher distribution range map

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