Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Marbled Godwit

There are four species of godwit, a bird I'd probably not heard of until fairly recently: (a) the bar-tailed godwit; (b) the black-tailed godwit; (c) the Hudsonian godwit; and (d) the marbled godwit. They are distinguished from curlews by their straight or slightly-upturned bill. In fact I was taking a photo of a long-billed curlew last weekend and then started taking photos of a nearby godwit and did not recognize the difference between them until I was reviewing my photos. Godwits are distinguished from dowitchers by their longer legs. 
The marbled godwit is the largest godwit with long blue/gray legs and a long pink bill with a dark tip and slight upward curve. Non-breeding birds, which I saw, have washed cinnamon underparts without streaking and breeding birds have streaked underparts that are not cinnamon. 

They forage for insects and crustaceans on mudflats, marshes and beaches when the tide is out. When the tide is in they roost, often standing on one leg with the bill tucked in to the body.  

We were at San Elijo Lagoon in Cardiff when I saw several of them for the first time. They look and behave a lot like long-billed curlews and were only distinguished by me by the bill. 

1 comment:

  1. Godwit? Dowitcher? The best thing about them is their name!