Marbled Godwit

Limosa fedoa

A large shorebird with a long, upturned bill, the Marbled Godwit breeds in the center of the continent and winters along the coasts. It breeds in the northern prairies, amongst grasslands and scattered wetlands.

Interesting Information

  • Nests of the Marbled Godwit are not easily found, as these birds do not readily flush off of their eggs. Incubating adults can sometimes be picked up from the nest.

  • The Marbled Godwit was long regarded as showing no noticeable geographic variation until measurements of birds breeding in Alaska showed these populations to have shorter wings and legs than Great Plains godwits.


Adult Description

  • Size: 42-48 cm (17-19 in)

  • Weight: 285-454 g (10.06-16.03 ounces)

Large shorebird. Long, slightly upturned bill with dark tip and pinkish base. Long legs. Rich buff-brown all over. Cinnamon wing linings. Orangish stripe in wings. Breeding plumage with barring across chest. Nonbreeding plumage with plain breast.

Sex Differences

Sexes similar, but male smaller and with brighter bill base and more extensive barring when breeding.


Juvenile similar to nonbreeding adult.


Photo taken from: The Sibley Field Guide by David Allen Sibley

© 2003 Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Breeds in marshes and flooded plains, in migration and winter also on mudflats and beaches.


Forages by probing on mudflats and in shallow water; also chases insects in shoreline vegetation.


Eats worms, mollusks, crustaceans, and insects.



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
     Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae
Genus: Limosa
Species: Limosa fedoa

Similar Species

  • Long-billed Curlew is similarly colored, but has long, down-curved bill.

  • Bar-tailed Godwit is slightly smaller, has a shorter bill, lacks bright cinnamon underwings, and is more reddish in breeding plumage and more gray in nonbreeding plumage.

  • Husonian Godwit smaller, has shorter bill, is colored deep reddish or gray, has black tail, white rump, black underwings, and black-and-white pattern in wings.

  • Rare Black-tailed Godwit has white underwings, black tail, white rump, and black-and-white pattern in wings.

Bird Sound

Call nasal, slightly crowing or laughing "ah, ha" or "ahk."

Eggs look like this

Photo taken from: ARCTOS Collaborative Collection Management Solution