|Conservation status||Still widespread and common. Numbers of migrants reportedly have increased in some areas during recent decades.|
|Habitat||Mudflats, shallow pools, margins; mostly on fresh water. Even in coastal regions, migrants and wintering birds tend to occur on freshwater habitats, such as ponds, impoundments, upper reaches of estuaries. Sometimes out on open tidal flats with Short-billed Dowitchers. Breeds in far north on wet, hummocky tundra.|
Typically forages by wading in shallow water (sometimes walking on wet mud), probing deeply in the mud with its bill. Usually deliberate in its feeding, standing in one spot or moving forward slowly.
4, sometimes 3. Olive to brown, marked with brown. Incubation is by both sexes at first, then mostly or entirely by male in later stages. Incubation period 20-22 days. Young: Downy young leave nest shortly after hatching. Female reportedly departs near the time the eggs hatch, leaving male to care for young. Young find all their own food; development of young and age at first flight not well known.
Downy young leave nest shortly after hatching. Female reportedly departs near the time the eggs hatch, leaving male to care for young. Young find all their own food; development of young and age at first flight not well known.
Small aquatic invertebrates. Diet probably varies with season. Particularly on breeding grounds, eats many insects and their larvae, including many flies, beetles, others. In migration and winter also eats mollusks, marine worms, crustaceans. At times, may feed heavily on seeds of grasses, bulrushes, pondweeds, other plants.
Breeding range is mostly in Arctic coastal regions, generally farther north and west than that of Short-billed Dowitcher. Nest site is on ground, usually near water, often on raised hummock or tussock in wet meadow. Nest is a depression sparsely lined with sedges, grasses; bottom of nest is often wet.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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From breeding range in far northwest, many migrate southeast to reach Atlantic seaboard. On both coasts, this species may linger later in fall and winter farther north than the Short-billed Dowitcher.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsA high sharp keek, quite unlike call of Short-billed Dowitcher.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Long-billed Dowitcher
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Long-billed Dowitcher
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.