Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Near Threatened

Asian Dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus)


French: Bécassin d’Asie German: Steppenschlammläufer Spanish: Agujeta asiática

Macrorhamphus semipalmatus


, 1848,

Calcutta, India


Formerly placed in monotypic genus Pseudoscolopax. Geographical separation of W & E breeding populations, with different migration routes and wintering areas, may warrant subspecific status. Monotypic.


Disjunct populations from W to E Siberian steppe regions, S into Mongolia and NE China; E areas may be continuous. Winters from E India through SE Asia, SE Sumatra and Java to N & E Australia.

Descriptive notes

33–36 cm; 127–245 g; wingspan 57–59 cm. The largest Limnodromus, almost same size as Limosa lapponica. Face, neck and breast chestnut-red... read more


Around nest-sites, male gives hollow, booming purrs both in flight and from ground (when more... read more


Breeds at extensive freshwater wetlands on lake shores or in deltas and flooded areas of rivers, e.... read more

Food and feeding

Poorly known. On breeding grounds, takes small fish, insect larvae and oligochaetes. Away from breeding grounds feeds on polychaetes,... read more


Lays late May to early Jun; timing and location of breeding may vary considerably, depending on water levels. Breeds in small colonies of 6... read more


Not well known; it has been speculated that significant numbers may pass (largely unnoticed)... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Recent work in Indonesia, mostly in Sumatra, has shown that world population comprises at least 23,000 birds;... read more

Recommended citation

Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Asian Dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus). 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 20 February 2020).