Marbled Godwit

Limosa fedoa
Range Map

We can find Marbled Godwits year round in San Diego. Non-breeders will often spend the summers along the east, west coasts, and Gulf of North America, Mexico, and northern Central America. Breeding occurs in the prairie region at the center of the North American continent, in southwestern Alaska and by James Bay at the south end of Hudson Bay.

Most shorebirds feed entirely on invertebrate prey items. During migrations, Marbled Godwits forage on plant tubers.

Science recognises two subspecies:

  • L. f. fedoa breeds in the prairies of the northern USA and south-central Canada, and near James Bay in Manitoba (Canada).
  • L. f. beringiae is a small population that breeds on the Alaska Peninsula near the Bering Sea.

When I passed through Anchorage (Alaska) in 2005, I stopped south of town to survey the mudflats along Turnagain Arm. The mudflats there are expansive because of the extreme tides at high latitudes. There were shorebirds in great numbers, and most were Marbled Godwits. I know now these were the subspecies L. f. beringiae. The nominate subspecies L. f. fedoa would have been far out of their range.

In San Diego we see these birds mostly in winter, but quite a few non-breeding birds remain with us through the summer.

31 Photos

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