Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Dowitcher Identification

Surfbirds has some recommendations for separating short-billed and long-billed dowitchers - one of the difficult identification problems for shorebird watchers. When I have observed these in the past, I have relied primarily on my impression of their overall coloration. On the east coast, at least, it seems safe to classify the strongly rufous individuals long-billed, even though a western race of the short-billed dowitcher come close in rufous coloration.

Well, now Surfbirds has some ways to make that identification more certain. These include the loral angle and other structural field marks, molt and migration patterns, and voice; plenty of illustrations are provided along with the text. I would advise reading the whole article rather than just my summary.