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Marbled Godwit Limosa fedoa


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Marbled Godwit
credit: Faucon/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Scolopacidae, Sandpipers view all from this family

Description ADULT Looks pale buffy orange overall, darkest on back and wings. In summer plumage, close inspection reveals intricate dark marbling on back and upper wings and subtle barring on underparts. Bill is mostly pink with a dark tip. Legs are dark and relatively long. In winter, plumage looks paler overall and less colorful, with much less intense barring on underparts; pink on bill is more extensive. JUVENILE Similar to winter adult.

Dimensions Length: 18" (46 cm)

Habitat Fairly common, breeding in wet grassland and marshes, mostly in the northern Great Plains. Winters on coasts, mainly south of our region, but reasonable numbers remain on Gulf coast (mainly Texas) and Atlantic coast (mainly Florida to North Carolina); favors mudflats, estuaries, and sandy beaches. Common during migration along suitable areas of coastline.

Observation Tips Easiest to see in spring and fall on coasts.

Range Southeast, California, Texas, Northwest, Florida, Alaska, Plains, Eastern Canada, Rocky Mountains, Great Lakes, Southwest, Mid-Atlantic, New England, Western Canada

Voice Utters a loud ker-Wik in flight.

Discussion Large and subtly patterned shorebird. Bill is extremely long and nearly straight (distal half is slightly upturned), allowing easy separation from similarly-sized Long-billed Curlew, which has downcurved bill; bill is used to probe mud and soft sand for invertebrates. In flight, wings are mainly uniformly orange-buff above and below but with dark carpal patch on upper wings. Typically tolerant of observers. Outside breeding season, often roosts at high tide with flocks of other, similarly-sized shorebirds. Sexes are similar.