Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Least Concern

Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus)


French: Bécassin roux German: Kleiner Schlammläufer Spanish: Agujeta gris

Scolopax grisea

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Long Island, New York, USA


Closely related to L. scolopaceus, with which formerly considered conspecific. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. g. caurinus Pitelka, 1950 – S Alaska, S Yukon and NW British Columbia; winters on Pacific coast from C USA to S Peru and Galapagos Is#R.
  • L. g. hendersoni Rowan, 1932 – C Alberta to S Nunavut (SE Keewatin), C Manitoba and N Ontario; winters from SE USA to Panama.
  • L. g. griseus (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – NE Canada from James Bay through C Quebec to W Labrador; winters on Atlantic coast from S USA and West Indies to Brazil.
  • Descriptive notes

    25–29 cm; 65–154 g; wingspan 45–51 cm. Snipe-like bill, godwit-like plumage. Very similar to L. scolopaceus, but bill tends to be shorter; foreneck... read more


    Call, given frequently in flight and useful for identifying this species from similar L.... read more


    Muskegs, wet sedge meadows and bogs with low vegetation, also swampy coastal tundra. On migration,... read more

    Food and feeding

    On breeding grounds chiefly larvae and pupae of Diptera, also snails, beetles and adult insects and sometimes plant material, particularly... read more


    Nests late May to Jul. Monogamous. Nest well hidden in soggy grass or sedge cover, near standing water. Usually four eggs (3–5);... read more


    Long-distance migrant. Race caurinus moves down Pacific coast, some birds inland through W... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population exceeds 100,000 birds, possibly several 100,000s; no estimates available for populations of different races.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2016). Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 10 February 2016).