Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica)

At the beginning of the last century, the Hudsonian godwit was nearly extinct, due to over-hunting! Fortunately, it is not shot anymore and its populations are recovering.


A long, slender, upturned bill is what makes this bird identifiable as a godwit. This rare shorebird is quite large, compared to other members of this family, reaching up to 43 cm. The tail is black with a distinctive white ring, and a black and white stripe is present under the wings. In the fall, both the male and the female have grey backs and pale breasts, and in the spring, the male has a breast that is browner than the female's.


While found mostly in the Arctic, this shorebird also breeds on the northern British Columbian coast. Its winter migration takes it inland to the prairies of North America.


In nests among wet sedge or grass, up to four eggs are laid and incubated for about 22 days. The young godwits leave the nest after 30 days and head for the tidal mud flats or beaches that are this species' preferred habitat. Large groups of these birds congregate in these marine areas, while smaller groups gather on the shores and shallow areas of freshwater sites. Fall migration sees all members of this species leave the marine environment and gather around lakes and ponds in the prairies for the winter.

The preferred diet of the Hudsonian godwit is marine or freshwater invertebrates, but this bird also consumes some seeds and fruit.