Amaze-wing Facts About The Short Billed Dowitcher For Kids

Short-billed dowitcher facts that it has almost the same bill length as the long-billed dowitcher.

The short-billed dowitcher, Limnodromus griseus, mostly inhabits North America. The short-billed dowitcher is a conspicuous, widespread shorebird that is easy to find in migration time and in winter. Like the long-billed dowitcher, the short-billed dowitcher is a small to medium-sized, stocky bird with long bills. The name Short-billed dowitchers was given as they have slightly smaller bills. But in general terms, these birds also have long bills. It is a misleading name. When the North American birds are busy feeding, they are usually tame. They usually migrate to medium to long durations during the breeding season. They are usually found in flocks and also fly together in flocks. They usually remain near the grounds. The short-billed dowitcher sound is recognized by a rapid series of notes like 'tu-tu-tu' and the calls of this species often is the difference between other species of shorebird, as found by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Like the long-billed dowitcher, the short-billed dowitcher looks almost the same as the other. Like the long-billed dowitcher, a short-billed dowitcher too inserts the bill straight up and down to probe for food, like a sewing machine. As the name suggests for the short-billed dowitcher, short-billed doesn't mean that the species has a short bill. The short-billed dowitchers have fairly long bills. The migration and winter plumages are both different for both the short-billed dowitchers and the long-billed dowitcher.

If you are interested in reading some facts about other birds, take a look at the least sandpiper and African pygmy goose facts on our website.

Short Billed Dowitcher

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Insects, mollusks, crustaceans, plant, marine worms

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

3-4 eggs

How much do they weigh?

0.16 lb-0.34 lb (73-155 g)

How long are they?

9.8-11.4 in (25-29 cm)

How tall are they?

Wingspan: 18-22 in (46-56 cm)

What do they look like?

Brown and black body with orange speckling below

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Loss of habitat, industrialization

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Boreal wetlands near treeline, saltwater estuaries, and lagoons


North America





Scientific Name

Limnodromus griseus





Short Billed Dowitcher Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a short billed dowitcher?

Short-billed dowitchers are a type of shorebird living mostly in North America.

What class of animal does a short billed dowitcher belong to?

This species of bird falls under the class of Aves of the family of Scolopacidae in birds.

How many short billed dowitchers are there in the world?

There is a decline in the population of the Short-billed dowitchers in the world but estimates are of 150000 individuals of the breeding species currently.

Where does a short billed dowitcher live?

They are normally found in the winter season on North America, Central American, and South American coasts. They are also found extensively in Canada. Canada is said to be the breeding grounds for these birds, as found by the Cornell Lab. The west moving short-billed dowitchers stay close to the pacific coast during its travels. During migration, Washington, New York, and Canada are common in their viewing list.

What is a short billed dowitcher habitat?

The habitat is normally inland, south, and east far away from the breeding ground of long-billed dowitcher. They need shallow water and they nest on the ground in the bog, forest clearing, often near water. Nests are made with fine grass, small twigs, and leaves.

During migration and winter, this species of bird is usually found in saltwater on mudflats and tidal marshes. They are also found in shallow water. They can also be found on freshwater like the long-billed dowitcher but on the muddy side of the pond. The breeding of the short-billed dowitchers is done in open marshes and bogs in the boreal forest zone, close to freshwater, but inland in their natural habitat.

Who do short billed dowitchers live with?

The short-billed dowitcher, Limnodromus griseus, usually stays all time with their family, except the breeding season when they prefer to take some privacy in the breeding grounds.

How long does a short billed dowitcher live?

The maximum life of a short-billed dowitcher as found is 13.3 years in their own habitat. Normally the life span is said to be between 7-10 years.

How do they reproduce?

The female of the short-billed dowitcher, Limnodromus griseus, in nesting lays three to four eggs in the winter season. The eggs are of olive-buff to brown color. Both the male and female incubate the eggs for 21 days. After hatching the young leaves the nest right after. The female is said to leave the family behind, and the male breeds have to tend to the young. The young find their own food and learn to take flight early than most. The male does most of the work. The long-billed dowitchers too are the same in this regard.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the bird species is of Least Concern at the moment as they can be seen breeding and nesting in various places. Also during migration, these birds are seen all over the US.

Short Billed Dowitcher Fun Facts

What do short billed dowitchers look like?

The long-billed vs short-billed dowitcher does not make sense much as both of these species of bird looks almost the same. These North American birds are large shorebirds and in the breeding plumage, their color underneath is reddish and mottled brown above. In the same breeding plumage, during flight, a pale trailing edge on their wings and a white blaze up their backs are seen. The females have a longer bill than the male's bill. During this plumage, they also have spots on the sides of their breasts in front of the wings. The juvenile short-billed bird is brighter in color than the long-billed bird with light edging and internal rufous markings on the tertial feathers. These short-bill birds are lighter than the long-bill birds. In the non-breeding plumage colors are very plain, graying brown above and pale below. Short-billed dowitcher winter plumage is similar to that of long-billed dowitcher's plumage.  

These birds are similar species to the Stilt sandpipers. Sandpipers have longer legs and a curved bill. The sandpipers also have a pale gray back. Sandpipers resemble the dowitchers during the non-breeding plumage. This is how we can differentiate between sandpipers and dowitchers.

Short-billed dowitcher are usually brown in color during non-breeding plumage.

How cute are they?

They can be considered cute with their reddish color and long bill. The young are darker in color and the young look beautiful with their orange breasts and dark feathers in their early stages. Right after they are born and come out of the nest, the view is superb.

How do they communicate?

These breeds have sounds of rapid series of notes, lower-pitched and in a series like 'tu-tu-tu'. The long-billed dowitchers have a different sound of single sound 'keek'.

How big is a short billed dowitcher?

The length of an adult short-billed dowitcher varies from 9.8-11.4 in (25-29 cm). They also have a wingspan of 18-22 in (46-56 cm). These birds are of the same size as the long-billed dowitchers.

How fast can a short billed dowitcher fly?

These birds are pretty fast in flight with respect to their size. The defined speed of these birds is missing at the moment.

How much does a short billed dowitcher weigh?

The weight of a short-billed dowitcher varies from 0.16 lb-0.34 lb (73-155 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no name given to the different sexes of this species of bird.

What would you call a baby short billed dowitcher?

The young birds are called juveniles.

What do they eat?

On the breeding grounds, they feed on insects and insect larvae. On mudflats, they usually feed on mollusks, marine worms, and crustaceans. To eat aquatic invertebrates, the short-billed dowitchers put their bill in and out of the ground like a sewing machine.

Are they dangerous?

These birds pose no danger to anyone.

Would they make a good pet?

The short-billed dowitchers thrive in their natural habitat. They are not made for domestication.

Did you know...

Long-billed dowitchers live on the tundra. However, during migration, they are also found in the mudflats like the short-billed dowitchers.

How will climate change reshape the range of the short billed dowitcher?

Climate change could change the availability of the mudflats where the short-billed dowitchers normally stay near the coastal areas. This could pose a danger to them.

How to tell the difference between a long billed and short billed dowitcher?

Long-billed dowitchers are darker in color and have a different sound than short-billed dowitchers. The bill size is almost the same between the two. Physically too, they look almost similar to each other. Long-billed birds have white underwing lesser coverts while short-billed ones have barred ones. This feature can only be noticed while in flight.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the Arctic tern or night heron.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our California state bird coloring pages.



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