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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Marbled Godwit -- Limosa fedoa

RANGE: Breeds from central Alberta to southern Manitoba and northern Ontario south to central Montana, northeastern South Dakota, and northwestern Minnesota. Some nonbreeding birds occur on the winter range during summer. Winters from central California, western Nevada, the Gulf Coast and coastal South Carolina south to South America.

STATUS: Common.

HABITAT: Inhabits grassy plains, broad flat wet meadows, and prairie sloughs, usually near lakes, rivers, or streams. During migration, frequents open coastal beaches and along lake shores; in winter, inhabits tidal flats in sheltered bays, next to inlets, and on open beaches. Gregarious and often in the company of willets and avocets.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Grassy prairies near water.

NEST: Builds single, or possibly semi-colonial, nest in slight hollow in short grasses, often in plain sight and usually near water.

FOOD: Forages by probing in shallow water and soft mud of sloughs and lake shores for aquatic insects and mollusks, and by capturing grasshoppers and other insects on meadows and low-lying prairies. Also eats snails, small crustaceans, insect larvae, worms, and leeches.

REFERENCES: Bent 1927, Palmer 1967, Wilds in Farrand 1983a.

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