• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Short-billed Dowitcher - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Limnodromus griseus)
Adult in breeding plumage, subspecies L. g. hendersoni
Photo © by bobsofpa
Bunche Beach Preserve, Ft Myers Beach, Florida, USA, 24 April 2017
Limnodromus griseus


Length 25–29 cm (10-11 inches); wingspan 45–51 cm (17¾-20 inches)
Breeding plumage

  • Long bill
  • Dark cap and pale supercilium
  • Dark brown upperparts, heavily mottled
  • Reddish underparts, whitish belly, barred flanks and spotted sides.
  • Tail: barred black and white; white wedge up back.
  • Yellow-green legs
Juvenile, subspecies L. g. caurinus
Photo © by bievreJJ
Pillar Point, California, USA, 25 August 2018

Nonbreeding plumage

  • Solid gray above with white wedge up back.
  • Paler gray underparts.


  • Boldly patterned and mottled upperparts
  • Tertials with extensive internal spots and loops
  • Buffy underparts.

Similar species

Almost identical to Long-billed Dowitcher. Bill lengths overlap with females having longer bills than males. Distinguished in breeding plumage by whitish belly and spotted rather than barred sides of breast. Juveniles distinguished by heavily patterned upperparts, particularly tertials with internal spots and loops lacking in Long-billed Dowitcher. In winter plumage, not safely distinguished except by voice. Typical call a mellow whistled "tu-tu-tu." Long-billed is more vocal often keeping contact while feeding. Long-billed fLight call a higher pitched squeaky "keeek" recalling Sanderling.

Winter plumage adults
Photo © by Paul Wiesike
Jacksonville, Florida, USA, 14 November 2004


Breeds in Alaska and Canada; winters from southern U.S. to central South America.


Formerly considered conspecific with Long-billed Dowitcher


Breeding plumage adults (subspecies L. g. griseus) in flight
Photo © by Richard Stern
Brier Island, Nova Scotia, 13 July 2006

There are 3 subspecies1:

  • L. g. caurinus - "Pacific":
  • Southern Alaska and southern Yukon; winters coastal western US to southern Peru
  • L. g. hendersoni - "Prairie":
  • L. g. griseus - "Atlantic":


Bogs, tidal marshes, mudflats or forest clearings.



Nests late May to July. Monogamous. Pair formation on breeding grounds. Ground-nesters, usually close to water. The nest is a shallow depression in grass or moss, lined with fine grass, twigs and leaves. The clutch consists of 3-4, olive-buff to brown eggs which are incubated by both adults for 21 days.


The diet includes insects, molluscs, crustaceans and marine worms, and also some plant material.


Typical flight call is a clear, melodic, staccato tu-tu-tu, or tu-tu-tu-tu, often repeated 3 or 4 times. Recalls Lesser Yellowlegs.
Song given only on breeding grounds is bubbly, melodious, complicated, and relatively loud,


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Chandler, R. (2009). Shorebirds of North America, Europe, and Asia: A photographic guide. Princeton Univ. Press.
  3. Jehl Jr., J. R., J. Klima, and R. E. Harris (2001). Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (A. F. Poole and F. B. Gill, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bna.564
  4. Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/53885 on 19 October 2018).

Recommended Citation

External Links

Search the Gallery using the scientific name:

Search the Gallery using the common name:

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.