Short-billed Dowitcher

Short-billed Dowitcher at the edge of a tidal lagoonShort-billed Dowitcher at the edge of a tidal lagoon – Nikon D200, handheld, f7.1, 1/250, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

Short-billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus griseus) spend their breeding season in remote northern bogs which means loads of biting bugs, but during other times of the year they can be found on coastal mudflats, saltmarshes or freshwater pools near the coastlines of North, Central and South America.

The bird above was going into breeding plumage and was resting along the Gulf Coast of Florida on its way north.

Short-billed Dowitchers feed on insects, crustaceans and aquatic mollusks. Quite often when I lived in Florida I would see them feeding on Coquinas which are small bivalves or tiny Fiddler Crabs.

Dowitchers can live up to 20 years in the wild and are social birds that are often seen in large flocks.



  1. Beverly Everson April 18, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Beautiful as always! I’ve never seen one IRL. Beautiful light!

    • Mia McPherson April 18, 2012 at 9:53 am

      I hope that you get to see one soon Beverly, thanks much for your comment.

  2. Karen Bonsell April 18, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Gorgeous shot Mia!

  3. Dan Huber April 18, 2012 at 4:38 am

    Beautiful capture of a pretty bird, Mia. I have only seen one once from a distance, but seeing a close up like this in breeding plumage is fantastic.

    • Mia McPherson April 18, 2012 at 8:48 am

      Thank you Dan, I hope that you get to see more Short-billed Dowthcers close up soon.

  4. Amila April 17, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Hi Mia, I’m really glad to come across your wonderful blog! Your images are magical,and your blog is super informative!

    • Mia McPherson April 18, 2012 at 8:42 am

      Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting on this image Amila!

  5. Larry Jordan April 17, 2012 at 7:30 am

    A beautiful photograph of this treasure which I have never seen. Long-billed Dowitchers aplenty but I’ve not spotted a Short-billed yet. The plumage patterns on this bird are just gorgeous Mia! I have only seen the Long-billed in non-breeding plumage. I hope you didn’t get any sand in your lens taking this shot 😉

    • Mia McPherson April 18, 2012 at 8:39 am

      Thanks for your very kind comment on this Dowitcher image Larry. I hope that you see & photograph a Short-billed soon.

      I didn’t get any sand in my gear taking this image, I was actually more concerned about the water I was in to take the shot. But I have never dropped/dunked or dipped my lenses into water. Thank goodness!

  6. Laurence Butler April 17, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Nice shot! Just the other day I was staring at a Dowitcher for a long time trying to turn it into a Short-Billed. I never could, and never got a good look at the beak. Oh well…

    • Mia McPherson April 18, 2012 at 8:36 am

      Thanks Laurence. I’ve seen many more Short-billed Dowitchers than Long-billed and hope to photograph the Long-billed more often myself.

  7. Carol Mattingly April 17, 2012 at 5:53 am

    Such a beautiful bird. The detail is wonderful. I couldn’t stop looking at him. I love the markings on his feathers. Carol

    • Mia McPherson April 18, 2012 at 8:32 am

      Carol, Dowitchers are fairly plain when not in breeding plumage but they sure are colorful when they are! Thanks for your comment.

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