Marbled Godwit

Limosa fedoa

A large and heavily built godwit, with a long, slightly upturned, bi-color bill and rich brown overall coloring, the Marbled Godwit, breeds inland in northern wetlands and prairies and winters along the coasts. 

Marbled Godwits are social, nesting in semi-colonial groups with no real territorial boundaries. They are fall and early spring migrants in Tennessee often found walking and probing the mudflats near shallow pools and ponds.

Description: Marbled godwits have a long, slightly upturned creamy pink bill with a dark tip, long bluish-gray legs, rich buff-brown color overall, cinnamon wing linings, and cinnamon stripe in the wing and finely barred across the chest. The chest is buffy and plain in winter.

Length: 18 inches

Wingspan: 30 inches

Weight: 13 oz.

Voice: Accented, trumpeting “kerwhit, kerwhit” (godwit)

Similar Species:

  • Hudsonian Godwit – In breeding plumage, heavily barred, reddish chestnut underparts. black tail with a white stripe on the base, white rump, long, pointed slightly upturned light pink bill with black tip. In winter plain gray back and neck and whitish underparts.
  • Long-billed Curlew – Larger in size, long decurved bill, indistinct eye line, buffy underparts, cinnamon, heavily marked brown flight feathers, and dull blue-gray legs. Long-billed Curlew is exceptionally rare in Tennessee (less than 5 records) and is not likely to be found.

Habitat: In Tennessee, Marbled Godwit can occasionally be found in cultivated fields, marshes, mudflats, and transient pools of water.

Diet: Insects, crabs, worms, aquatic plant tubers, small fish, leeches, and small mollusks.

Nesting and reproduction: There are no known records of this species nesting in Tennessee.

Status in Tennessee: Marbled Godwit is an uncommon migrant in fall and early spring.

Fun Facts:

  • Females are longer-billed than males yet only slightly larger in other measurements.
  • The Marbled Godwit gets its name from its call.

Obsolete English Names: None