South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Long-billed Dowitcher

Limnodromus scolopaceus

Length: 11.5 inches Wingspan: 18 inches Seasonality: Migrant
ID Keys: Long bill, short neck, stocky body.  Brownish breeding plumage, gray in winter.

Long-billed Dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceusVery similar to its close relative, the Short-billed Dowitcher, with only a slightly longer bill.  Major differences lie in their different voices and their habitat preference, as the Long-billed Dowitcher prefers freshwater, while the Short-billed Dowitcher is more often found in saltwater.  The photo at the right shows a breeding plumage bird.  Photos below also show a winter-plumaged bird.

Habitat: Mudflats, flooded fields and pastures, marshes, sloughs, and shallow ponds.

Diet: Variety of items depending on location and season.  Will feed on insects and insect larvae, mollusks, crustaceans, and seeds of aquatic and terrestrial plants.

Behavior: Forages deliberately in shallow water, probing in the bottom mud with its bill.

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota

Song: Long-billed Dowitcher song

Migration: Summers in extreme northern Alaska and northwestern Canada.  Winters along U.S. coasts, Mexico, and Central America.

Similar Species: Short-billed Dowitcher, Wilson's Snipe

Conservation Status: Populations trends are increasing in some locations.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Long-billed Dowitcher

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Long-billed Dowitcher"

3) eNature.com: Long-billed Dowitcher

Photo Information: May 3rd, 2005 -- Lake Thompson -- Terry Sohl

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

 

Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Long-billed Dowitcher - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common migrant in suitable habitat throughout the state.