South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Hudsonian Godwit

Limosa haemastica

Length: 15 inches Wingspan: 28 inches Seasonality: Migrant
ID Keys: Long pink-based upcurved bill with black tip, rich chestnut below in spring migration through the state, black barring, dark legs.

Hudsonian Godwit - Limosa haemasticaFound in South Dakota during the spring migration, the Hudsonian Godwit migrates off the Atlantic Coast during the fall migration.  They have the typical "Godwit bill", slightly upcurved and two-toned.  Godwits may utilize deeper water when feeding than do most other shorebirds.   Note a male is pictured on the right, while more photos of both males and females can be found near the bottom of the page.

Habitat: Freshwater marshes, mudflats, flooded fields during migration.  Nests on mixed tundra/wetlands in northern Canada and Alaska.

Diet: Primarily insects inland during its migration through the state.  Hudsonian Godwits will also feed on crustaceans, mollusks, and marine worms.

Behavior: Forages in shallow water, using its long bill to probe in the mud beneath for food items. 

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota.  In breeding range, the nest of a Hudsonian Godwit is a shallow depression on the ground, with a sparse lining of vegetative material.  The female usually lays 4 eggs, and both parents help to incubate them.  When the eggs hatch, the young soon leave the nest and find their own food, but both parents help to protect them.  The young fledge after about one month.

Song: High-pitched kae-wit. 

Migration: Summers in northern Canada and Alaska, migrating through the center of North America in the spring. Migration south in the fall is primarily off the Atlantic coast as it makes its way to South America for the winter. 

Similar Species: Marbled Godwit.  Outside of South Dakota, also very similar to the Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit

Conservation Status: Populations are generally stable.  Was seriously depleted in the 19th century due to hunting pressures.  The IUCN lists the Hudsonian Godwit as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Hudsonian Godwit

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Hudsonian Godwit"

3) Hudsonian Godwit

Photo Information: May 14th, 2004 -- Wetland in Kingsbury County -- Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Hudsonian Godwit photos.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Hudsonian Godwit - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common spring migrant in the eastern part of the state, only a casual migrant in the fall.  Accidental migrant in the western part of the state.