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Short-billed Dowitcher Photos

Photography by Terry Sohl

My Favorite: I'm calling it! In South Dakota, the majority of Dowitchers we see are Long-billed. When I see a Dowitcher, I always start with the assumption it's Long-billed, and then, if I can get photos, look for evidence to the contrary.  I don't have a huge number of Dowitcher photos overall, but I do have this very clear one, which I am calling a Short-billed. Much of that is because of the bill...not necessarily the length (which does seem short compared to many Dowitchers), but because of the droop on the last 1/3rd of the bill, and a bill that looks more stout (particularly towards the base).  There are other supposed identification keys, that even when I look at web pages devoted to differentiating the two, don't seem very diagnostic!  Some claim Long-billed Dowitchers are more apt to have a "dip" at the base of the tail, while a Short-billed Dowitcher has a back that's more straight, from shoulder to tail tip, but that's SO dependent on position of the bird.

There's not many birds I have trouble identifying any more, and NO birds really I have trouble identifying once I have a photo this good!  These guys are tough though!

Short-billed Dowitcher - Limnodromus griseus

Short-billed Dowitcher 1 - Limnodromus griseus

Short-billed Dowitcher 2 - Limnodromus griseus

Short-billed Dowitcher 3 - Limnodromus griseus

Short-billed Dowitcher 4 - Limnodromus griseus

Short-billed Dowitcher 1 

Short-billed Dowitcher 2  

Short-billed Dowitcher 3 

Short-billed Dowitcher 4 

May 4th, 2015 

May 4th, 2019

May 4th, 2019

May 4th, 2019

Newton Hills State Park, South Dakota 

Western Minnehaha County, South Dakota

Western Minnehaha County, South Dakota

Western Minnehaha County, South Dakota

Showing identification keys of drooping bill, white edging creeping up coverts and scauplars

Lone adult in breeding plumage, patrolling shallow water at the edge of a wetland

Lone breeding plumaged adult standing at the edge of a flooded pasture

Lone adult in breeding plumage, probing in dead vegetation at a wetland shoreline

Click here for the species description page for the Short-billed Dowitcher.

All photos copyrighted!  Click for information on commerical usage, or usage for other personal purposes.

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Please mail any comments/suggestions/additional links for this page to: Terry L. Sohl