Marbled Godwits (Limosa fedoa) are the largest godwits of North America. Marbled Godwits can be seen frequently on the shorelines of Fort De Soto and feeding on the mudflats of the lagoons at low tide. According to Birds of North America from the American Museum of Natural History Marbled Godwits are long-lived, the oldest bird recorded was 29 years old! I was quite astonished to read that.
Marbled Godwits feed by probing their bills for crustaceans and mollusks in mudflats and on beaches, they also take small fish and are especially fond of eating grasshoppers they find in grasses. During migration marbled godwits forage almost exclusively on plant tubers.
Marbled Godwits associate in flocks and often forage together “stitching” mudflats, probing deeply and rapidly while slowly moving forward. It can at times be a challenge for a bird photographer to isolate a single bird from the flock for images.
On Fort De Soto’s Gulf beaches you will often find Marbled Godwits in mixed flocks of other shorebirds. The breeding grounds of Marbled Godwits are grassy marshes of the Great Plains and as far north as Alaska’s coastal tundra.
Female Marbled Godwits have longer bills than males and females are slightly larger than males over all. Their length is between 16 and 19 inches, the wingspan is from 28 to 32 inches and weight is from 10 to 16 ounces.
Marbled Godwits are graceful birds while on the ground, feeding and in flight. They have a beautiful cinnamon color, long dark legs and slightly turned up bill. They are truly a joy to photograph.