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Types of Birds
Two Dowitchers (Limnodromu), the Long-billed and Short-billed, explore the inland and coastal shorelines of North America during the migratory and winter seasons.
Summer breeding season means the Arctic, with the Long-billed Dowitcher normally having the northern most breeding range. Short-billed Dowitchers generally prefer North American breeding areas to the immediate south of the Arctic circle in Canada and Alaska.
Similar in size and appearance, the two species can be difficult to distinguish in areas where their non-breeding territory overlaps.
The Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus), top picture, uses West and Gulf Coast and South Atlantic waterways as its winter resting grounds.
This top picture presents a Long-billed Dowithcher in a rather indistinct gray and white migratory, non-breeding plumage. During breeding season the plumage turns various shades of red and orange.
Like many other shorebirds, dowitcher diets consist primarily of insects and other organisms found in and around their mudflat habitat.
The Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus) usually gets described in comparative terms with the Long-billed Dowitcher.
The yellow legs of the bird in the second picture might suggest a Yellowlegs. However, the length of the legs and the more rounded shape of the tip of the bill suggest dowitcher, possibly a Short-billed Dowitcher.
Unlike Long-billed Dowitchers, Short-billed Dowitchers tend to spend more time along coastal salt water and brackish water habitats.
© 2006-2011 Patricia A. Michaels