American Game Birds

Illustrating More Than One Hundred Species In Natural Colors

By Chester A. Reed

Page 36

MARBLED GODWIT (Limosa fedoa). The Godwits are among the largest and most highly prized of shore birds, the present species measuring about 18 in. in length, including the long up-curved bill. They breed in the interior from Saskatchewan south to North Dakota and winter from the Gulf coast and Lower California southward. They only casually occur on either the Atlantic or Pacific coasts during migration. Their three or four creamy-buff eggs, spotted with yellowish-brown, are laid in scantily lined depressions on the ground in the vicinity of water; as usual with birds of this order, the eggs are pear-shaped and very large compared with the body of the bird.

     They are highly prized for the table and eagerly hunted whenever they appear on the marshes; ordinarily, they are rather shy, but since they come to imitations of their calls and to decoys stuck up in the mud, their shyness does not avail them. They are commonly known as "Brown Marlins" or " Spike-bills."


HUDSONIAN GODWIT (Limosa haemastica). A smaller species than the last, measuring about 16 in. in length; in winter plumaged in gray and white, but in summer brightly colored as shown. Notice that this species has a white rump, while the last has not. Hudsonian Godwits, otherwise known as "Ring-tailed Marlins," "Black-tails" and "White-rumps," breed in Arctic regions. Their fall migration is performed chiefly off the Atlantic coast, leaving land at Newfoundland and not stopping this side of the West Indies on their route to southern South America, unless blown from their course, when they occur on New England and Long Island shores. Returning, their course lies chiefly up the Mississippi Valley to their nesting grounds. Their line of flight is almost precisely the same as that taken by the Eskimo Curlew, which is now practically extinct.


PACIFIC GODWITS (Limosa lapponica baueri), which are similar in size to the Marbled, breed in western Alaska and migrate through Japan and eastern Asia. They have no barring below, otherwise not differing greatly from Marbled Godwits.