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Hudsonian godwit

Hudsonian godwit (Limosa haemastica)
Photo © Alan Murphy Photography

Features and Behaviors

The Hudsonian godwit is about 15 to 15 and one-half inches in length (bill tip to tail tip in preserved specimen). Its bill is long, thin and slightly upturned. The male’s ventral feathers are bright rust-red in breeding birds, while the breeding female’s feathers in the same area of the body are duller. In fall, the feathers all over the bird are generally gray. Black feathers at the front edge of the lower side of the wing can be seen from below as the bird flies. The tail has a broad, white band at the base that can be seen in flight.

This species’ main migration routes are west and east of Illinois, but a few individuals appear annually in the state. It breeds in Alaska and Canada and winters in southern South America. Spring migrants begin arriving in Illinois in April. Fall migrants may start passing through Illinois in August. The Hudsonian godwit eats small invertebrates found when probing mud with its bill.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae

Illinois Status: common, native