Birds of Quivira – Long-billed Dowitcher

Long-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher

Considered conspecifics for decades, both the Long-billed and Short-billed Dowitchers breed in the high arctic.  Differences in plumage, migratory routes and breeding isolation, followed by allozyme and mtDNA evidence suggested separate species status.  The Long-billed, pictured in this post was the only Dowitcher species Steve and I were find at Quivira.  This is not altogether surprising due to the Long-billed’s preference for freshwater during migration and the Shirt-billed’s tendency to stick to marine environments.

Long-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Dowitcher

The long, thick legs and bill give indication as to the depth of water in which these birds feed and they probe for prey using a rapid up and down motion that is quite reminiscent of the action of a sewing machine.

OZB

 

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