Short-billed Dowitcher

Hey guys welcome back. Today is the short-billed dowitcher. That name is a bit of a misnomer though. They do not have short bills. Rather, the name is meant to differentiate them from the long-billed dowitcher. In actuality, the difference in the bill length of the two species is very slight. Plumage is nearly identical between the two birds, as is overall size. One of the best ways to tell them apart at a distance is to look for the “buffalo hump.” When foraging, short-billed dowitchers tend to have a level, flat back, while the long-billed have a hump, reminiscent of the hump on the back of a bison.

Range between the two is slightly different. Except for the Pacific coast, short-billed dowitchers tend to stay further east than long-billeds do. They winter along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts, as well as the Caribbean, and nest in central Canada. They partake in what’s often dubbed “molt-migration.” This is when a bird migrates a short distance to an intermediate spot, molt, then move on to their primary wintering spot. Pretty cool stuff. Looks like we’re sticking with shorebirds for our next post. Dunlin is up next. See you then!

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