Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
© Donna Dewhurst, USFWS

Marbled Godwit

Marbled Godwit
Limosa fedoa
Sandpiper-like Birds | Family: Sandpipers, Scolopacidae

An estimated 13% of the species' North American population breeds within the Boreal Forest.

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Overview

In spring on the Great Plains, the aerial displays and noisy calls of Marbled Godwits are conspicuous. Males chase one another and perform figure-eight flights. The birds nest in loose colonies, and while the eggs are incubated by the female alone, both parents guard the young birds as they feed. Like the Long-billed Curlew, it is a rich buff color, blending perfectly with the brown grass of the plains.

Description

18" (46 cm). A crow-sized shorebird, dark and mottled above, cinnamon-buff below, with cinnamon wing linings and long, pinkish, upturned bill.

Voice

A loud kerreck or god-wit, usually heard on breeding grounds.

Nesting

4 olive-buff eggs, blotched with brown, in a slight depression lined with grass on the ground.

Habitat

Breeds on grassy plains; visits salt marshes, tidal creeks, mudflats, and sea beaches on migration.

Range/Migration

Breeds on the central plains from Saskatchewan to Minnesota. Winters on coasts from California and Virginia southward and along Gulf Coast.