SPECIES

Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica Scientific name definitions

Brad M. Walker, Nathan R. Senner, Chris S. Elphick, Joanna Klima, and Gabriela Contreras
Version: 1.1 — Published February 9, 2024

Priorities for Future Research

Introduction

Research on all aspects of the biology of the Hudsonian Godwit would be valuable. Even our current knowledge of the distribution of this species is patchy. Known breeding sites can account for only a small proportion of the known population size, and new breeding areas continue to be found.

Population biology remains poorly known, primarily because low breeding densities and disjunct populations create logistic difficulties for studies requiring even modest sample sizes. Most existing information is based on observations of few birds, and much was collected incidentally. A concerted effort to better understand such variables as nesting behavior, microhabitat requirements, and all aspects of chick development would be valuable. Particularly puzzling is the question of why the current breeding distribution is so fragmented and why the Hudsonian Godwit is not found in apparently suitable habitat outside of the current breeding range.

Given the degree of genetic differentiation among breeding populations, studies that investigate other aspects of geographic variation (e.g., vocalizations) might prove interesting. No quantitative studies of vocalizations have been conducted in this species. Likewise, updating Haig et al.'s (49) genetic work would be extremely valuable in understanding both the diversity and distribution of the species.

Foraging ecology remains poorly known, unusual in large shorebirds for which the collection of data on diet, feeding performance, time allocation, and microhabitat selection is typically easy. Information from major wintering sites in South America may be especially important for conservation efforts in that region. Similarly, we have only a general knowledge of molt in this species and are left to assume that the details are similar to related species.

In addition to improving our basic knowledge of the biology of this species, conservation efforts would benefit from explicit studies of demographic variables such as reproductive and survival rates, and dispersal. Equally important is the implementation of an effective monitoring program across the wintering range to track population trends.

Recommended Citation

Walker, B. M., N. R. Senner, C. S. Elphick, J. Klima, and G. Contreras (2024). Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica), version 1.1. In Birds of the World (N. D. Sly, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.hudgod.01.1