We didn’t have a great deal of diversity in the shorebirds during this early season trip to the “central coast,” but, we had great numbers in the early migrating species like the Long-billed Dowitcher. There may have been some Short-billed Dowitchers mixed in here but none that we could confirm identity. The LBDO uses the central flyway predominantly while the SBDO primarily moves along the coasts during spring migration.
Tag: long-billed dowitcher
Birds of Quivira – 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.
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.