Marbled Godwit - Limosa fedoa
State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Species is apparently secure and not at risk of extirpation or facing significant threats in all or most of its range.
- Details on Status Ranking and Review
ScoreU - Unknown
ScoreF - 20,000-200,000 km squared (about 8,000-80,000 square miles)
Comment177984 square kilometers based on Natural Heritage Program range maps
Area of Occupancy
ScoreG - 2,000-20,000 km squared (500,000-5,000,000 acres)
Comment2944 square kilometers based on GAP predicted model.
ScoreD - Moderate Decline (decline of 25-50%)
CommentVery large reduction in prairie grassland covertypes since the arrival of Europeans.
ScoreE - Stable. Population, range, area occupied, and/or number or condition of occurrences unchanged or remaining within ±10% fluctuation
CommentBreeding Bird Survey (BBS) data 1966-2007 trend is 3.5% per year; BBS 1980-2007 trend is 4.8% per year
ScoreE - Localized substantial threat. Threat is moderate to severe for a small but significant proportion of the population or area.
CommentConversion of prairie habitats
SeverityModerate - Major reduction of species population or long-term degradation or reduction of habitat in Montana, requiring 50-100 years for recovery.
CommentConversion of prairie habitats would require a very long time to recover
ScopeLow - 5-20% of total population or area affected
CommentAmount of conversion of prairie habitat is slow and steady
ImmediacyHigh - Threat is operational (happening now) or imminent (within a year).
ScoreC - Not Intrinsically Vulnerable. Species matures quickly, reproduces frequently, and/or has high fecundity such that populations recover quickly (< 5 years or 2 generations) from decreases in abundance; or species has high dispersal capability such that extirpated populations soon become reestablished through natural recolonization (unaided by humans).
ScoreC - Moderate. Generalist. Broad-scale or diverse (general) habitat(s) or other abiotic and/or biotic factors are used or required by the species but some key requirements are scarce in the generalized range of the species within the area of interest.
CommentDependent on prairie grasslands
The Marbled Godwit is a large, long-legged shorebird with very long, slightly upturned bicolored bill and bright cinnamon underwings and remiges. Overall length 42 to 48 cm with bill 8 to 13 cm; mass 285 to 454 g. In breeding plumage generally tawny buff in coloration (looks darker brown above and lighter buff below from a distance); upperparts speckled and barred with dark brown and black; underparts tawny with fine dark streaks on neck and upper breast and black barring on sides, flanks and belly; bill bright pink to orange on basal half; legs long and gray or blue-gray. Does not show well-marked seasonal plumage change, and nonbreeding plumage is similar to breeding plumage except underparts paler tawny and essentially unbarred, and base of bill paler and more extensively pink. Sexes are alike in appearance throughout year, but female is larger than male with a noticeably longer bill (Gratto-Trevor 2000).
For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.
Western Hemisphere Range
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version)
Map Help and Descriptions
(direct evidence "B")
(indirect evidence "b")
No evidence of Breeding
(regular observations "W")
(at least one obs. "w")
(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
In the Bozeman area normal migration periods are from May 3 to May 20 and September 1 to September 25, with peaks on May 10 and September 15.
Breeds in short, sparsely to moderately vegetated landscapes that include native grassland and wetlands. Individuals in North Dakota preferred ephemeral ponds (normally dry by 1 May), as well as temporary ponds and alkali wetland. Semi permanent ponds often used as well. Upland habitat during breeding season primarily idle grassland and pastures; tilled land avoided, but hay fields used in proportion to availability. During migration will flock around variety of wetland types (Gratto-Trevor 2000).
Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
- Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
How Associations Were Made
We associated the use and habitat quality (common or occasional) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for
vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
- Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2012, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
- Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species' range and habitat requirements;
- Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point observation database associated with each ecological system;
- Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of "observations versus availability of habitat".
Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.
In general, species were listed as associated with an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.
However, species were not listed as associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if
point observations were associated with that system.
Common versus occasional association with an ecological system was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species as represented in scientific literature.
The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignment of common versus occasional association.
If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact the Montana Natural Heritage Program's Senior Zoologist.
Suggested Uses and Limitations
Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.
These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: http://mtnhp.org/requests/default.asp
) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.
Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.
Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.
Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).
Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species' known geographic range.
- Adams, R.A. 2003. Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado. 289 p.
- Dobkin, D. S. 1992. Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34. Missoula, MT.
- Foresman, K.R. 2012. Mammals of Montana. Second edition. Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Montana. 429 pp.
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- Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young. 1999. Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32. 72 p.
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- Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath. 2004. Amphibians and reptiles of Montana. Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.
- Commonly Associated with these Ecological Systems
Shrubland, Steppe and Savanna Systems
Wetland and Riparian Systems
- Occasionally Associated with these Ecological Systems
Human Land Use
Recently Disturbed or Modified
Sparse and Barren Systems
Wetland and Riparian Systems
In winter and at coastal sites, polychaetes, small bivalves, crabs, and earthworms. In interior staging areas and breeding grounds, insects (particularly grasshoppers, aquatic plant tubers, leeches, and small fish (Gratto-Trevor 2000).
Male selects nest site and initiates scrape. Nests on ground, often situated in native prairie considerable distance from water. Eggs are ovate pyriform in shape and pale buff or olive in color sparsely marked with blotches and scrawls. Clutch size almost always 4, range 3 to 5 eggs (Gratto-Trevor 2000). Egg dates are probably similar to those reported for North Dakota: April 17 to June 22.
- Literature Cited AboveLegend: View Online Publication
- Gratto-Trevor, C.L. 2000. Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa). Species Account Number 492. The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca, NY: Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology; Retrieved 3/25/2008 from The Birds of North America Online database
- Marks, J.S., P. Hendricks, and D. Casey. 2016. Birds of Montana. Arrington, VA. Buteo Books. 659 pages.
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- American Ornithologists’ Union [AOU]. 1998. Check-list of North American birds, 7th edition. American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C. 829 p.
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- Kantrud, H. A., and K. F. Higgins. 1992. Nest and nest site characteristics of some ground-nesting, non-passerine birds of northern grasslands. Prairie Naturalist 24(2):67-84.
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- Additional Sources of Information Related to "Birds"