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What is a Dowitcher?

Alex Paul
Alex Paul

Dowitchers are birds that are considered waders, which means these creatures live near the shore and are medium sized. There are three dowitcher birds — the short billed, long-billed and Asiatic. The three birds are also migratory, which means that they travel to different locations on a cyclical basis depending on the season. Two of the species are found in North America while the Asian species is much rarer. Compared to similar birds, dowitchers have relatively short legs.

Although there are three different species of dowitcher the two North American species — short-billed and long-billed — are extremely difficult to tell apart. For this reason they weren’t identified as different species for a number of years. The Asiatic dowticher is the rarest of the three and is not as well known.

Veterinarian with a puppy
Veterinarian with a puppy

The short-billed dowitcher is a medium-sized bird that has a long bill, which can be used to explore the shallow water for food. The bird usually feeds on small insects and crustaceans although it has also been known to eat plants. During migration, the birds can go as far as Brazil from North America. In some rare cases this species of dowitcher can be seen in Europe.

The long-billed dowticher is very similar to the short-billed species. The body of the long-billed species is dark on the top with a red tint to the underneath. A large portion of the bird is spotted. Like the short-billed species there are some which can be found in Western Europe although this is uncommon. One of the differences between the two North American species is that the long-billed species is much more likely to be seen in fresh water habitats than the short-billed.

Asiatic dowticher birds are generally shorter than the North American species although these birds have a similar coloring. The birds can often be found in Northern Asia where they breed. During migration they can reach as far as Australia. Not much is known, however, about the exact location of breeding and migration. Like the other two species, the Asiatic species feeds mainly on insects as well as worms which are found underwater.

Initially the Asiatic species was thought to be the same as the Northern species. This is not the case, however, mainly because the Asian species is bigger in size. The migratory range of the different species also doesn’t overlap and hence they don’t come into contact with each other.

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      Veterinarian with a puppy