SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER


Limnodromus griseus


Description:

Unlike some of the other shorebirds, this bird vigorously moves its head up and down as it probes for food, sometimes even submerging its entire head underwater. The rapid motion of the probing has been said to look like an "animated sewing machine". Dowitchers feed on small crustaceans, aquatic insects, and plant matter. This bird breeds in the sub-Arctic region and is a winter visitor to our coastal area.


Appearance:

Stocky gray body. White belly. Dark mottled wings. Dark eyestripe. Dark crown and forehead. Long, straight, dark bill. Distinctively barred tail feathers just above undertail coverts. Underparts are reddish during breeding. Sexes similiar. 12 inches in length.


Habitat:

Ponds, marshes, and coastal mudflats.


Nesting:

4 greenish eggs with brown spots and a 20 day incubation period. Fledging occurs ? days after hatching. Both the male and female participate in the incubation. The nest is a ground depression lined with grass and moss.


Observed Locations:

  • San Diego Bay (Fiddler's Cove), Silver Strand
  • San Diego Bay (J St Marina), Chula Vista
  • Mission Bay, San Diego
  • San Diego Flood Control Channel (near Robb Field)
  • San Elijo Lagoon





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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.