Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2020-30

Common name:

Hudsonian Godwit

Scientific name: Limosa haemastica
Date: August 13, 2020
Time: 8:00 am
Length of time observed: 1.5 hours
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Unknown
Location: West Willard Playa
County: Box Elder
Latilong: 41.372000, -112.133324
Distance to bird: 150 yards
Optical equipment: Swarovski 20x60 Spotting Scope, 10x42 Nikon Monarch Binoculars.
Weather: Relatively clear skies, mild temperature.
Light Conditions: Early morning light from the east behind our viewing point provided excellent lighting conditions.
Description:        Size of bird: Medium-sized Shorebird; noticeably smaller than MAGO
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Typical Godwit Shape; Flatter backed than MAGO (less hump-like)
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Grayish brown tones overall; lacked cinnamon color of MAGO
(Description:)            Bill Type: Long, straight, bi-colored bill. Pink base with black end.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
This individual fits an adult Hudsonian Godwit in nearly full non-breeding plumage. Black barring on white undertail coverts suggest the bird still had a few breeding feathers left. HUGO was seen in direct comparison with many Marbled Godwits and was noticeably smaller in size and lacked extensive patterning, or marbling, on the back. While feeding, the bird had also had a much flatter back -- less hump-like than MAGO. While preening, the bird lifted its wings showing diagnostic black and white wing and tail pattern. Mike M. was filming and has a still of the wings.

Other field marks used in identification:

-Long bi-colored Bill; Pink base with black end.

-Broad, white Supercilium extended behind the eye. Contrasted with gray face and crown.

-Gray brown back with little to no patterning overall. A few dark splotches on mantle, scapulars, and wing-coverts, but lacking organization/rows etc.. perhaps due to molting (See photos)

White belly and undertail coverts with limited black-barring towards rear flanks.

Grayish brown wash across breast. Back a darker shade of a similar gray-brown color.

Black primaries and tail feathers visible while standing/feeding.

Observed while lifting wings: Black tail with white band across the rump.

Distinctive black underwing with white stripe. Similar black and white pattern on top of wings.

Dark legs
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: No vocalizations heard.
Behavior: HUGO was actively feeding on playa among Marbled Godwits for the entirety of our stay. Seemed to have different feeding habits, or techniques compared to MAGO. - See Video for feeding behavior
Habitat: Open mudflat/playa supporting high density bird populations of a variety of species. Active, known staging grounds for southbound Godwits during late summer/early fall.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Characteristics eliminating Marbled Godwit:
- Smaller size
- Lack of cinnamon-rufous coloring anywhere on the body. Bird was much grayer overall.
- Lack of marbling on the back. Relatively plain top side, a gray-brown color.

Bar-tailed Godwit:
- Lack of patterning/streaks on the back and wings.
- This Godwit had a Black tail tip with broad white band across the rump. BTGO shows white tail with dark bands.
- Bold black and white wing pattern. BTGO shows relatively plain underwing, but does show black on greater wing coverts in flight.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have limited experience with HUGO and have only observed it once in the state before.
References consulted: Sibley, David. Sibley Guide to Birds II. (2014)
- Chandler, Richard. Shorebirds of North America, Europe, and Asia. (2009)
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Kendall Watkins
Observer's address: 2622 W Dry Creek Drive
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Mike Malmquist, Lauri Taylor, Bryant Olsen, Terry Reid, Von Welch, Mike Hearell, +
Date prepared: 8/13/2020
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: