Family Snipes, Sandpipers and Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Least Concern

Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus)


French: Bécassin roux German: Kleiner Schlammläufer Spanish: Agujeta Gris
Other common names: Common Dowitcher

Scolopax grisea


, 1789,

Long Island, New York


Forms superspecies with L. scolopaceus, with which formerly considered conspecific. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
L. g. caurinus Pitelka, 1950 - S Alaska and S Yukon; winters on Pacific coast from C USA to S Peru.
L. g. hendersoni Rowan, 1932 - EC British Columbia to SE Keewatin and C Manitoba; winters from SE USA to Panama.
L. g. griseus (Gmelin, 1789) - C Quebec and W Labrador; winters on Atlantic coast from S USA 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


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 4 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. Total population exceeds 100,000 birds, possibly several 100,000's; no estimates available for populations of different races. Declining trends... read more

Recommended citation

Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Bonan, A. (2013). Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.) (2013). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 August 2014).