Long-billed Dowitcher

Limnodromus scolopaceus




Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Brown to olive with brown and gray blotches.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground, near water.

Nest Material:

Lined with grasses and moss.





Long-billed Dowitcher: Large, stocky sandpiper with dark, mottled upperparts, darker cap and eye stripe, short white eyebrow and red-brown underparts with lightly barred flanks. Bill is very long, dark and very slightly decurved. Legs and feet are yellow-green. Sexes are similar. Winter adult is gray overall with lightly barred white belly and shows fine dark spots on white vent. Juvenile resembles winter adult but darker, with scaled back and wings. Feeds on insects and insect larvae, mollusks, crustaceans, and marine worms. Swift direct flight, rapid wing beats.

Range and Habitat

Long-billed Dowitcher: Breeds along the coast of western Alaska and northwestern Canada. Spends winters along the coast from Washington and Virginia south to Guatemala and throughout Mexico. During breeding season lives on tundra; found on mudflats, marshes, and edges of freshwater ponds and marshes during winter.

Breeding and Nesting

Long-billed Dowitcher: Their breeding grounds are in northern Alaska and Canada, although some have expanded as far as Siberia. Four brown to olive eggs with brown and gray blotches are laid in a shallow, elevated ground scrape lined with grass and moss, usually near water. Although both sexes incubate the eggs for 20 days, only the male takes care of the young once they hatch.

Foraging and Feeding

Long-billed Dowitcher: These sandpipers feed mainly on insect larvae, earthworms, crustaceans, moss, plant parts, seeds and snails. They probe in shallow water and on mudflats with a fast, repetitive up-down motion with the bill. They frequently plunge their head below the water. They have been observed drinking in brackish water by dipping and raising their bill and tilting their head back.


Long-billed Dowitcher: Alarm call is a single, loud "keek."

Similar Species

Long-billed Dowitcher: Short-billed Dowitcher is brown, has pale eyebrow, slightly shorter bill, spotted red-brown underparts, faint bars on flanks, and lacks speckling on nape and throat. Best separated by vocalizations.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The area on top of the head of the bird.
Also called the supercilicum or superciliary it is the arch of feathers over each eye.
Birds do not have two separate cavities for excrement and reproduction like humans do. In birds, there is one single entrance/exit that suits both functions called the vent, cloaca or anus.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X