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Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday's Photo

While nearly the size of a Green Heron, the Hudsonian Godwit is the smallest and least known of the world’s four godwit species. Like the other species, this large sandpiper's most prominent feature is its long, slightly upturned bill. As with most shorebirds, their diet primarily consists of insects, but also includes crustaceans, marine worms and mollusks. They nest in far northern Canada and Alaska near the treeline in mixed tundra and wetlands.

Scientists are only recently beginning to understand their long migration from the subarctic to southern South America. After the breeding season some Canadian breeders congregate on the southern shores of James Bay then fly at least 2,800 miles nonstop over the Maritime provinces and New England, over the Atlantic and to South America. Read more about their migration from The Center for Conservation Biology godwit study.

Their conservation status via the IUCN Red List is listed as Least Concern. However, there is little information on their population trends. Hudsonian Godwit is on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List, which includes bird species that are most at risk of extinction without significant conservation actions to reverse declines and reduce threats.

The most likely place to find a rare migrating Hudsonian Godwit around NYC is at the East Pond of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

The Hudsonian Godwit's scientific name, Limosa haemastica, means, muddy and bloody, the latter presumably referring to the red coloration of their breeding plumage.

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