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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Long-billed Dowitcher -- Limnodromus scolopaceus


RANGE: Breeds in coastal western and northern Alaska, northern Yukon, and northwestern Mackenzie. Winters from central California, southern Arizona, southern New Mexico, central Texas, the Gulf Coast, and southern Florida south to Panama.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Found on arctic continental coastal belts and marginally within the subarctic just beyond treeline. Inhabits grassy and sedgy tundra, with or without scattered low woody vegetation and usually near shallow fresh water. In migration and winter, prefers grassy margins of shallow, muddy freshwater pools and, occasionally saltwater habitats. Associates freely with other shorebirds, including the larger plovers.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Grassy tundra and wet meadows.

NEST: Nests in a shallow depression in a tuft of grass or in moss, on dry or moist ground, usually near freshwater.

FOOD: Feeds in open unvegetated tracts of mud, as well as patches surrounded by tundra. Eats flies, beetles, small crustaceans and mollusks, marine worms, spiders, and seeds of aquatic plants.

REFERENCES: Bent 1927, Cramp and Simmons 1983, Palmer 1967, Sperry 1940.


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