Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Jim Weis
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The marbled godwit, Limosa fedoa, is a large, wading shorebird with a very long, slightly up-turned bill. It breeds in meadows, shortgrass prairies, pastures, and marshes in the north-central United States and south-central Canada. It winters along the coasts of North America, south of Oregon in the west, and south of Virginia in the east. Marbled godwits are common migrants in northern Utah, especially in areas around the Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake.

Marbled godwits probe the sand in shallow water for crustaceans, worms, snails, and leeches; often they will even submerge their heads to forage for food items. They nest in loose colonies in dry areas of prairie wetlands. Adults build the nest by pressing down grass to create a simple depression upon which dry grass is placed. Four eggs are laid and incubated for about three weeks. The young are quite independent when they hatch, being able to walk and find food for themselves, though they do follow their parents. The young are able to fly by the time they are three weeks old.


  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birderís handbook[:] a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon & Schuster, New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • National Geographic Society. 1996. Field guide to the birds of North America, 2nd edition. The National Geographic Society, Washington, D. C.

  • Hayward, C. L., Cottam, C., Woodbury, A. M., and H. H. Frost. 1976. Birds of Utah. In Great Basin Naturalist Memoirs, No. 1 (Wood, S. L. and K. T. Harper, eds.). Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.