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 slightly larger, bulkier and marginally longer-legged L.... 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. Pairs form on breeding grounds. Nest scrape (10–13 cm wide by 4·5 cm deep) well hidden in... 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 has been estimated at c. 320,000 birds, of which hendersoni thought to comprise 60,000 individuals, ... 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 27 October 2016).