Hudsonian Godwits Take a Migration Rest Stop on Bonaire.

Hudsonian Godwits undertake a long migration twice each year, from the sub-arctic all the way to the southern part of South America.  Bonaire provides an excellent mid-way point for a well-deserved rest.

Posted October 2, 2019

This past weekend, I was absolutely thrilled to come across a pair of Hudsonian Godwits, considered a rare sighting on Bonaire.

This pair of godwits were in a freshwater pond created by recent rains, along with other migrating shorebirds, most of which were Stilt Sandpipers.

 

Hudsonian Godwits can migrate long distances.

After breeding during the summer months in the sub-arctic of North America, the Hudsonian Godwits begin their fall migration to the southern parts of South America.  On this long trip, they apparently make non-stop flights of several thousand miles.

Bonaire is the perfect half-way point for them to stop and rest and recover before continuing on to the southern hemisphere.

 

How to identify the Hudsonian Godwit.

The Hudsonia Godwit is the smallest of the godwits and has an upturned bill, red at the base, which turns darker toward the tip.
The breeding male shows a rich rufous belly, while the female is a more consistent gray and white color.  The male godwits that are observed now on Bonaire have remnants of their breeding plumage, with rufous streaking down the breast.
A Hudsonian Godwit with a Sora in  the background.

Historically recorded sightings of the Hudsonian Godwit.

According to eBird, the first recorded observation of this bird on Bonaire was in 1983, and until today, only eight additional sightings have been recorded, the most recent of which was in 2017.

It appears that the Hudsonian Godwit, if sighted at all, can be most easily observed during the fall migration, but they do not appear to be observed during the spring migration back to the north.

Quick Facts about the Hudsonian Godwit.

A pair of Hudsonian Godwits make a rest stop on Bonaire during their fall migration.

Hudsonian Godwit

(Limosa haemastica)

Diet:  Aquatic invertebrates

Breeding: Lays 2 to 4 eggs

Status:  Least Concern, but the population is diminishing

About the author

Susan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a certified bird guide, a PADI SCUBA Diving Master Instructor,  and an underwater and topside photographer.

Susan Davis, the author.

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