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short-billed dowitcher

short-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus)
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Features and Behaviors

The bill is long. In flight, a white, wedge shape can be seen on the bird's back. A repeated up-and-down probing motion with the beak can help identify this species. The breeding bird has light rust-colored feathers on the breast and belly that become white near the legs. Nonbreeding birds tend to be gray on the back and breast. The short-billed dowitcher is about 11-13 inches long (tail tip to bill tip in preserved specimen).

In spring, individuals start appearing in Illinois in late April. They breed in Alaska and Canada on the taiga and tundra. Southbound migrants begin arriving in the state in late June. Overwintering occurs from the southern coastal United States to South America. They frequent mudflats in search of invertebrates.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native