Wednesday, September 27

Lesser black-backed gull

   ›      ›   Lesser black-backed gull - Larus fuscus

The lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus) belongs to the family of gulls, Laridae.

The lesser black-backed gull species are distributed in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Middle East, Myanmar, Thailand, China, Africa, Europe, central and northwest Asia and North America. These gull species are fully migratory. These gulls are polytypic species.
Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Lesser Black-backed Gull Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus) is a medium-sized gull, measuring 50 to 60 cm in length and weighing 550 to 1200 grams. The wingspan is 125 to 130 cms.

These lesser black-backed gull species take three to four years to reach sexual maturity. The adult breeders have dark gray or blackish back and wings. Rest of the plumage, including head and underparts is white. There are white "mirrors" at the wing tips.

The bill of the lesser black-backed gull is yellow and curved. There is a reddish spot on the lower mandible, which the young peck at, inducing the parent to regurgitate and feed the young.

The irises are pale yellow in adults. There is a red eye-ring. The juveniles have blackish irises. The feet are yellow in adults and pale pink in juveniles.

The lesser black-backed gull male and female are similar in plumage. Their call is a loud, deep, nasal "laughing" sound.
Indian birds - Picture of Lesser black-backed gull - Larus fuscus
1.Birds of India - Image of Lesser black-backed gull - Larus fuscus by pete beard

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Birds of India - Photo of Lesser black-backed gull - Larus fuscus
2.Indian birds - Picture of Lesser black-backed gull - Larus fuscus by Perhols

Indian birds - Image of Lesser black-backed gull - Larus fuscus
3.Birds of India - Photo of Lesser black-backed gull - Larus fuscus by Llorenzi

Origin, geographical range and distribution

These lesser black-backed gull species are distributed in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Middle East, Myanmar, Thailand, China, Africa, Europe, central and northwest Asia and North America.

Breeding populations of these gulls occur in Kazakhstan, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Denmark, Iceland, Ireland, United Kingdom, France, Belgium and Netherlands.

In India, wintering lesser black-backed gull species are distributed in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of these lesser black-backed gull species in Spain are Cádiz bay, Pela mountain range-Orellana reservoir-Zorita, Cape Busto-Luanco, Isla Cristina and Ayamonte marshes and Prado lagoon.

Some of the IBA of the lesser black-backed gulls in United Kingdom are Alde - Ore Estuary, Severn Estuary, Bowland Fells, Morecambe Bay, Cardigan Island, Little Cumbrae Island, Horse Island and Isles of Scilly.

The IBA of lesser black-backed gulls in Sweden are Lövsta Bight – Björn Archipelago, Archipelago of Northern Hälsingland and Archipelago of Stockholm.

Ecosystem and habitat

These lesser black-backed gull species do not normally occur in forest. These species normally occur in altitudes from 0 to 1000 meters.

The artificial ecosystems and habitats of these lesser black-backed gull species include cultivated lands, pasturelands, rural gardens, urban areas, water storage areas, water treatment areas, fishing harbors and canals.

The natural ecosystems and habitats of these lesser black-backed gull species include coastal lagoons, wetlands, temperate grasslands, freshwater lakes, sea cliffs, rocky offshore islands, freshwater marshes, rivers and streams.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of lesser black-backed gull consists mainly of small fish. Aquatic and terrestrial insects, crustaceans, molluscs, worms, eggs and chicks of birds, rodents, carrion, offal and fish waste are their primary food.

These lesser black-backed gulls are omnivorous, opportunistic feeders. The also feed on berries, seeds and grains. They may feed from urban garbage dumps and also follow fishing vessels for discarded bycatch.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these lesser black-backed gull species is from April to June in most of their breeding range.

These gulls are monogamous and breed in colonies. Their breeding sites include, coastal grassy slopes, margins of lakes, sand-dunes, cliffs, rocky offshore islands and islands in lakes and rivers.

The lesser black-backed gull nest may be a heap of grass or weeds or a simple sparsely-lined scrape on the ground. Sometimes they nest on cliffs, buildings and rooftops. The typical clutch contains three, ovoid, buff colored eggs with dark brown spotting.

Migration and movement patterns

These lesser black-backed gull species are mostly migratory birds.

Breeding lesser black-backed gull populations occur in northern Europe and northwestern Asia. Small year-round breeding populations occur in coastal Portugal, southern Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France.

The breeding lesser black-backed gulls disperse widely for wintering and move in leapfrog-like stages, using many stopovers en-route.

The Autumn migration to the wintering grounds occurs from July to September and the return spring migration takes place from February to June.

Lesser black-backed gull - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Larus fuscus
  • Species author: Linnaeus, 1758
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Larus fuscus Linnaeus, 1758
  • Family: Laridae › Charadriiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Lesser black-backed gull, Chinese: 小黑背鸥, French: Goéland brun, German: Heringsmöwe, Spanish: Gaviota sombría, Russian: Клуша, Japanese: ニシセグロカモメ, Malay: Burung Camar Cina
  • Other names: Baltic Gull, Siberian Gull
  • Distribution: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Middle East, Myanmar, Thailand, China, Africa, Europe, central and northwest Asia, North America
  • Diet and feeding habits: fish, aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, bird eggs and chicks, rodents, carrion, offal, berries, grains
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus) is estimated to number about 940,000 to 2,070,000 individual birds. The overall population trend of these species is considered to be increasing.

Throughout its range, this gull species is reported to be abundant to common. The generation length is 13.9 years. Its distribution size is about 19,800,000 sq.km.

Habitat alteration and destruction, avian botulism, sport hunting and capture for pet-trade are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these gull species.

IUCN and CITES status

The lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the gull species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Larus fuscus
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Charadriiformes
Family:Laridae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Larus
Species:L. fuscus
Binomial name:Larus fuscus
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus) is closely related to European herring gull (Larus argentatus) and Caspian gull (Larus cachinnans).

The five recognized subspecies of the lesser black-backed gull are: L. f. fuscus Linnaeus, 1758, L. f. graellsii A. E. Brehm, 1857, L. f. intermedius Schiøler, 1922, L. f. heuglini Bree, 1876 and L. f. barabensis H. C. Johansen, 1960.
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1.Photo source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lesser_black-backed_gull_2015.jpg (cropped)
Photo author: pete beard | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 9/27/17
2.Photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sildemaake-pho2_K2E8707.jpg (cropped)
Photo author: Perhols | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
3.Photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Laridae_Larus_in_Saint-Malo_(France).jpg (cropped)
Photo author: Llorenzi | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Current topic in Birds of India: Lesser black-backed gull - Larus fuscus.
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Tuesday, September 26

Red-wattled lapwing photos

   ›      ›   Red-wattled lapwing (Vanellus indicus) photos
Taxonomic classification   <>   Photos
The red-wattled lapwing (Vanellus indicus) belongs to the family Charadriidae under the order Charadriiformes.

Red-wattled lapwing taxonomy

The family Charadriidae was first described by William Elford Leach, MD, FRS (2 February 1791 – 25 August 1836), an English zoologist and marine biologist, in a guide to the contents of the British Museum published in the year 1820.

The family Charadriidae is divided into two subfamilies (Vanellinae and Charadriinae), ten genera and 66 species. The subfamily Vanellinae was first described by Charles Lucien Jules Laurent Bonaparte (24 May 1803 – 29 July 1857), a French biologist and ornithologist, in the year 1842.

The subfamily Vanellinae contains two genera, viz., Erythrogonys and Vanellus. The genus Vanellus was first described by Mathurin Jacques Brisson in the year 1760. The genus Vanellus has 24 species classified under it.

The species Vanellus indicus was first described by Pieter Boddaert (1733 – 6 May 1795), a Dutch physician and naturalist, in the year 1783.
Taxonomic classification
Binomial name:Vanellus indicus
Species:V. indicus
Genus:Vanellus
Subfamily:-
Family:Charadriidae
Order:Charadriiformes
Class:Aves
Phylum:Chordata
Kingdom:Animalia
Vanellus indicus
1.Red-wattled lapwing - Vanellus indicus 257
Photo by Bhadraslg

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Vanellus indicus
2.Red-wattled lapwing - Vanellus indicus
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Vanellus indicus
3.Red-wattled lapwing - Vanellus indicus
Photo by Dr. Raju Kasambe

Vanellus indicus
4.Red-wattled lapwing - Vanellus indicus
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Vanellus indicus
5.Red-wattled lapwing - Vanellus indicus
Photo by Dattatreya N R

Vanellus indicus
6.Red-wattled lapwing - Vanellus indicus
Photo by Karunakar Rayker

Vanellus indicus
7.Red-wattled lapwing - Vanellus indicus
Photo by AChawla

Vanellus indicus
8.Red-wattled lapwing - Vanellus indicus
Photo by Rathika Ramasamy

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1.Photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/ (cropped)
Author: Bhadraslg | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
2.Photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/ (cropped)
Author: Arindam Aditya | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
3.Photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Red-wattled_Lapwing_Vanellus_indicus_by_Dr._Raju_Kasambe_DSC_5603_(3).jpg (cropped)
Author: Dr. Raju Kasambe | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
4.Photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Red_wattled_Lapwing_David_Raju.jpg (cropped)
Author: Davidvraju | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
5.Photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bird_in_Nagarhole_forest.jpg (cropped)
Author: Dattatreya N R | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
6.Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21932201@N04/3024323521/ (cropped)
Author: Karunakar Rayker | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 9/26/17
7.Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vanellus_indicus_eggs_and_chicks.jpg (cropped)
Author: AChawla | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
8.Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/28163014@N00/2495959547/ (cropped)
Author: Rathika Ramasamy | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 9/26/17
Current topic in Birds of India: Red-wattled lapwing (Vanellus indicus) photos.
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Monday, September 25

Red-wattled lapwing

   ›      ›   Red-wattled lapwing - Vanellus indicus

The red-wattled lapwing (Vanellus indicus) belongs to the family of plovers, dotterels and lapwings, Charadriidae.

The red-wattled lapwing species are distributed in the Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, southwest and southcentral Asia and China. This lapwing species has a small, reddish fleshy wattle in front of each eye. These lapwings are polytypic species.
Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Red-wattled Lapwing Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The red-wattled lapwing (Vanellus indicus) is a large lapwing, measuring 30 to 35 cm in length and weighing 110 to 230 grams. The wingspan is 80 to 85 cms.

The upperparts and wings are pale brown with purple sheen. The head, neck, chin, throat, breast and upper belly are black. A prominent white patch runs from the sides of the crown to the flanks along the sides of the neck.

The lower belly, vent region and the undertail of the red-wattled lapwing are white. The rump is white. The short black tail is tipped white. In flight, prominent white wing bars are seen.

The red-wattled lapwing bill is reddish with black tip. The irises are reddish brown. There is reddish eye-ring connected to the small, reddish, fleshy wattle. The long feet are yellow.

The red-wattled lapwing male and female are similar in plumage. Their call is a loud, raucous, creaking and strident "did he do it" or "pity to do it" sound.
Indian birds - Picture of Red-wattled lapwing - Vanellus indicus
1.Birds of India - Image of Red-wattled lapwing - Vanellus indicus by Arindam Aditya

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2.Indian birds - Picture of Red-wattled lapwing - Vanellus indicus by Bhadraslg

Indian birds - Image of Red-wattled lapwing - Vanellus indicus
3.Birds of India - Photo of Red-wattled lapwing - Vanellus indicus by Dr. Raju Kasambe

Origin, geographical range and distribution

These red-wattled lapwing species are distributed in Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, southwest and southcentral Asia and China.

In the Indian subcontinent, these lapwing species are distributed all over India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

In southeast Asia, these species are distributed in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

In southwest and southcentral Asia, these red-wattled lapwing species are distributed in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.

Vagrant birds have been observed in Bahrain and Jordan. The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of these red-wattled lapwing species in Turkey are Cizre and Silopi.

Ecosystem and habitat

These red-wattled lapwing species do not normally occur in forest. These species normally occur in altitudes from 0 to 1800 meters.

The artificial ecosystems and habitats of these lapwing species include cultivated lands, corn fields, grass fields, pasturelands, fallow agricultural fields, ploughed lands and rural gardens.

The natural ecosystems and habitats of these red-wattled lapwing species include open forests, wetlands, flooded grasslands, riverine gravel islands, montane plains and ravines, freshwater marshes, rivers and streams.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of red-wattled lapwing consists mainly of insects. Beetles, ants, termites, grasshoppers, crickets, butterflies, insect imagoes, insect larvae, small gastropods, crustaceans and worms are their primary food.

The red-wattled lapwings also feed on seeds, grains and other plant matter. They forage mostly on the ground. They also scratch the ground with their long, strong legs to bring out the prey hiding in the soil.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these red-wattled lapwing species is from April to June in Iraq. In the Arabian Peninsula, the breeding season is from January to July, with a peak in April and May. In India, the laying season is from March to September.

These red-wattled lapwings are monogamous and highly territorial. The male courtship display include standing erect with stretched neck and tumbling flights. The female responds by short, quickly repeated calls.

The red-wattled lapwings prefer nesting sites close to water. The nest is a shallow scrape, which may be bare or lined with small stones. Both of the pair take part in nest building, incubation and care of chicks.

The female lapwing lays eggs on alternate days and the typical clutch contains four eggs. The eggs are pyriform (pear-shaped), colored pale olive green or buff with blackish brown spots and markings.

The chicks hatch out in about 25 days and the hatchlings are nidifugous. They leaving the nest shortly after hatching. The red-wattled lapwing hatchlings have grayish brown down feathers with black mottling.

Migration and movement patterns

These red-wattled lapwing species are mostly non-migratory, resident birds. Birds in higher elevations may move to lower levels and plains in winter.

Small populations of the red-wattled lapwing in eastern Iran, southern Turkmenistan, western Afghanistan, northwestern Pakistan and northwestern India are migratory, moving southwards for wintering.

Post breeding, the resident juvenile lapwings may disperse and establish in new locations within the range. They may make local movements for feeding and breeding within their range. There is also dispersal during rainy season.

Red-wattled lapwing - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Vanellus indicus
  • Species author: (Boddaert, 1783)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Tringa Indica Boddaert, 1783, Hoplopterus indicus, Lobivanellus indicus
  • Family: Charadriidae › Charadriiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Red-wattled lapwing, Chinese: 肉垂麦鸡, French: Vanneau indien, German: Rotlappenkiebitz, Spanish: Avefría india, Russian: Украшенный чибис, Japanese: インドトサカゲリ, Tamil: Sivappu Mookku Aalkatti
  • Other names: Red Wattled Lapwing
  • Distribution: Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, southwest and southcentral Asia, China
  • Diet and feeding habits: insects, insect larvae, beetles, small gastropods, ants, butterfly, grasshoppers, crickets, bugs, earwigs, termites
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the red-wattled lapwing (Vanellus indicus) is estimated to number about 50,000 to 60,000 individual birds. The overall population trend of these species is unknown.

Throughout its range, this lapwing species is reported to be uncommon to common. The generation length is 9 years. Its distribution size is about 15,100,000 sq.km.

Habitat alteration and destruction, hunting and capture for pet-trade are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these lapwing species.

IUCN and CITES status

The red-wattled lapwing (Vanellus indicus) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the lapwing species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for red-wattled lapwing (Vanellus indicus).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Vanellus indicus
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Charadriiformes
Family:Charadriidae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Vanellus
Species:V. indicus
Binomial name:Vanellus indicus
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The red-wattled lapwing (Vanellus indicus) are placed under genus Hoplopterus or Lobivanellus by some authors. The four recognized lapwing subspecies are: V. i. indicus, V. i. aigneri, V. i. lankae and V. i. atronuchalis.
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1.Photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_thirsty_Lapwing.jpg (cropped)
Photo author: Arindam Aditya | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
2.Photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Red-wattled_lapwing.jpg (cropped)
Photo author: Bhadraslg | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
3.Photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Red-wattled_Lapwing_Vanellus_indicus_by_Dr._Raju_Kasambe_DSC_5603_(3).jpg (cropped)
Photo author: Dr. Raju Kasambe | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
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Sunday, September 24

Long-billed dowitcher images

   ›      ›   Long-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus) images
Taxonomic classification   <>   Images
The long-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus) belongs to the family Scolopacidae under the order Charadriiformes.

Long-billed dowitcher taxonomy

The family Scolopacidae (as Scolopacea) was first described by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz (October 22, 1783 – September 18, 1840), a zoologist, botanist, writer and polyglot, in the year 1815. The family Scolopacidae is divided into fifteen genera.

The genus Limnodromus was first described by Prince Alexander Philipp Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied (23 September 1782 – 3 February 1867), a German explorer, ethnologist and naturalist, in the year 1833.

The type species of the genus Limnodromus is Scolopax grisea, described by Johann Friedrich Gmelin (8 August 1748 – 1 November 1804), a German naturalist, botanist, entomologist, herpetologist and malacologist, in the year 1789.

The genus Limnodromus contains three species, viz., Limnodromus griseus, Limnodromus scolopaceus and Limnodromus semipalmatus.

The species Limnodromus scolopaceus (as Limosa scolopacea) was first described by Thomas Say (June 27, 1787 – October 10, 1834) in the year 1822.
Taxonomic classification
Binomial name:Aegithina nigrolutea
Species:A. nigrolutea
Genus:Aegithina
Subfamily:-
Family:Aegithinidae
Order:Passeriformes
Class:Aves
Phylum:Chordata
Kingdom:Animalia
Limnodromus scolopaceus
1.Long-billed dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus 359
Image by "Mike" Michael L. Baird

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Limnodromus scolopaceus
2.Long-billed dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus
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Limnodromus scolopaceus
3.Long-billed dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus
Image by Basar

Limnodromus scolopaceus
4.Long-billed dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus
Image by Alan D. Wilson, www.naturespicsonline.com

Limnodromus scolopaceus
5.Long-billed dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus
Image by Judy Gallagher

Limnodromus scolopaceus
6.Long-billed dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus
Image by Nigel

Limnodromus scolopaceus
7.Long-billed dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus
Image by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren

Limnodromus scolopaceus
8.Long-billed dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus
Image by ALAN SCHMIERER

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1.Long-billed dowitcher image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Long-billed_Dowitcher_-_Mike_Baird.jpg (cropped)
Author: "Mike" Michael L. Baird | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 9/23/17
2.Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Limnodromus_scolopaceus_Mike_Baird_crop.jpg (cropped)
Author: "Mike" Michael L. Baird | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 9/23/17
3.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Limnodromus_scolopaceus.jpg (cropped)
Author: Basar | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
4.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dowitcher_-_natures_pics.jpg (cropped)
Author: Alan D. Wilson, www.naturespicsonline.com | License: CC BY-SA 2.5 as on 9/24/17
5.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/52450054@N04/6918355945/ (cropped)
Author: Judy Gallagher | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 9/23/17
6.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/winnu/7205111490/ (cropped)
Author: Nigel | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 9/23/17
7.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wildreturn/8429676311/ (cropped)
Author: Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 9/23/17
8.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sloalan/9090808202/in/photostream/
Author: ALAN SCHMIERER | License: Public domain as on 9/24/17 (cropped)
Current topic in Birds of India: Long-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus) images.
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Saturday, September 23

Long-billed dowitcher

   ›      ›   Long-billed dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus

The long-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus) belongs to the family of snipes and dowitchers, Scolopacidae.

The long-billed dowitcher species are distributed in North America, central America, Japan and eastern Siberia. Vagrant dowitchers have been observed in India, southeast Asia, Europe and Africa. These dowitchers are monotypic species.
Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Long-billed Dowitcher Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The long-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus) is a medium-sized dowitcher, measuring 25 to 30 cm in length and weighing 90 to 150 grams. The wingspan is 45 to 50 cms.

The adult long-billed dowitcher has different alternate (summer, breeding) and basic (winter) plumages. The juveniles have brown head and breast with scattered spots.

In summer adult long-billed dowitcher, the upperparts are dark brown with buff and white streaking. The crown is dark brown with pale spots. The underparts are reddish. The throat and breast have black spots.

The supercilium is reddish black, even and straight. The belly and flanks are barred white and rufous. The black feathers have black base and reddish edges.

The wintering adult long-billed dowitcher has pale gray head and whitish supercilium. The upperparts are gray. The belly and undertail coverts are whitish.

The bill is longish, straight and blackish brown. The irises are blackish and the eye-ring is whitish. The legs are dull yellow or yellowish-green. The call of the long-billed dowitcher is a high-pitched "keek" or "kik" sound.
Indian birds - Picture of Long-billed dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus
1.Birds of India - Image of Long-billed dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus by "Mike" Michael L. Baird

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Birds of India - Photo of Long-billed dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus
2.Indian birds - Picture of Long-billed dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus by "Mike" Michael L. Baird

Indian birds - Image of Long-billed dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus
3.Birds of India - Photo of Long-billed dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus by Basar

Origin, geographical range and distribution

These long-billed dowitcher species are distributed in North America, northern South America, central America, northeastern Russia and Japan.

Vagrant dowitchers have been observed in India, southeast Asia, Europe, Africa, southern South America and Middle East.

In India, vagrants of these dowitcher species have been observed six times(Sharma et al. 2013). They have been observed in central Kerala, Gujarat and Punjab.

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of long-billed dowitcher species in Mexico are Bay Santa María, Estero Cardonal, Ciénega of Tláhuac, Ensenada of Pavilions and Ciénegas del Lerma.

The IBA of long-billed dowitchers in USA are Teshekpuk Lake-E. Dease Inlet, Bear River Bay UT02, Salton Sea, Chenier Plain and Coastal Prairie. The IBA in Honduras is El Jicarito.

Ecosystem and habitat

These long-billed dowitcher species do not normally occur in forest. These species normally occur in altitudes from 0 to 100 meters.

The natural ecosystems of these dowitcher species include wetlands, swamps and marshes in Arctic tundra, intertidal mudflats, intertidal marshes with emergent vegetation, freshwater lakes, bogs and peatlands.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of long-billed dowitcher consists mainly of insects. Beetles, small gastropods, crustaceans, worms and insect imagoes and larvae are their primary food. They also feed on seeds and other plant matter.

These dowitcher species forage by probing in soft mud and shallow waters. These birds probe the ground for suitable prey with their long, sensitive bill.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these long-billed dowitcher species is from May and August in most of their breeding range. These birds are monogamous and territorial. The males display by flying above the breeding sites. They breed in loose colonies.

The breeding sites of these dowitcher species include margins of wetlands, bogs, tidal marshes, mudflats in tundra regions in northeastern Russia, north and east Alaska (USA) and northwestern Canada.

The long-billed dowitcher species nest on the ground, usually near water. The shallow nest on grass or moss is lined with fine grasses, twigs and leaves. The clutch usually contains three to four eggs.

Both the long-billed dowitcher parents incubate the eggs for about 21 days. The hatchlings have downy feathers and leave the nest soon after hatching. The chicks forage for the food, following the parent.

Migration and movement patterns

These long-billed dowitcher species are fully migratory birds.

The breeding populations are distributed in tundra regions in northeastern Russia, north and east Alaska (USA) and northwestern Canada.

Post breeding, these dowitchers migrate to central America, northern South America and Japan for wintering. They return to their breeding grounds in early summer.

Long-billed dowitcher - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Limnodromus scolopaceus
  • Species author: (Say, 1822)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Limosa scolopacea Say, 1822
  • Family: Scolopacidae › Charadriiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Long-billed dowitcher, Chinese: 长嘴半蹼鹬, French: Bécassin à longe bec, German: Großer Schlammläufer, Spanish: Agujeta escolopácea, Russian: Длинноклювый американский , Japanese: オオハシシギ
  • Other names: greater dowitcher, Greater Grayback
  • Distribution: North America, eastern Siberia
  • Diet and feeding habits: insects, insect larvae, beetles, small gastropods, crustaceans, polychaete worms, plant material
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the long-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus) is estimated to number more than 400,000 individual birds. The overall population trend of these species is unknown.

Throughout its range this dowitcher species is reported to be uncommon to common. The generation length is 5.8 years. Its distribution size is about 3,690,000 sq.km.

Habitat alteration and destruction, climate change and severe weather are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these long-billed dowitcher species.

IUCN and CITES status

The long-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the dowitcher species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for long-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Limnodromus scolopaceus
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Charadriiformes
Family:Scolopacidae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Limnodromus
Species:L. scolopaceus
Binomial name:Limnodromus scolopaceus
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The long-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus) is closely related to the short-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus).
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1.Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Limnodromus_scolopaceus_Mike_Baird_crop.jpg (cropped)
Image author: "Mike" Michael L. Baird | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 9/23/17
2.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Long-billed_Dowitcher_-_Mike_Baird.jpg (cropped)
Image author: "Mike" Michael L. Baird | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 9/23/17
3.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Limnodromus_scolopaceus.jpg (cropped)
Image author: Basar | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Current topic in Birds of India: Long-billed dowitcher - Limnodromus scolopaceus.
Contact State Tourism or travel agents for bird watching and wildlife tours.