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Black-tailed Godwit

From Opus

Molting adult femalePhoto © by Avi MeirEilat, Israel, 11 March 2006
Molting adult female
Photo © by Avi Meir
Eilat, Israel, 11 March 2006
Limosa limosa


[edit] Identification

Breeding malePhoto © by HeliosMinsmere, UK, 21 July 2008
Breeding male
Photo © by Helios
Minsmere, UK, 21 July 2008

36–44 cm (14-17¼ in)
Straight, flesh-coloured bill with dark tip
Greyish legs
Summer Adult Cinnamon-pink head, neck and breast. Brown, streaked black, upperparts. White wing-bar and dark wing tips. The white tail has a black bar at the tip. Belly white, marked with black.
Winter Adult The pink parts become greyish, upperparts greyer and the belly loses the streaks.

[edit] Similar Species

Bar-tailed Godwit whose bill has a slightly upcurved tip and narrowly barred tail. Hudsonian Godwit of the Americas can be distinguished in all plumages by its underwing patterns, white in Black-tailed and mostly dark in Hudsonian. Also the bill is straight on Black-tailed, not noticeably upturned as in Hudsonian. Black-tailed has a broader, longer white wing stripe and broader white tail band (Hudsonian has less white in its tail).

[edit] Distribution

Breeds in northern Palearctic; winters to southern Africa, southern Asia and Australia.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

There are 3 subspecies1:

  • L. l. islandica: Smaller, darker, with more extensive red on belly in Spring.
  • L. l. limosa: Larger, paler.
  • L. l. melanuroides: Similar to L. l. islandica, but decidedly smaller.
Adult in winter plumage, subspecies melanuroidesPhoto © by SeeTohSungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Singapore, 21 August 2016
Adult in winter plumage, subspecies melanuroides
Photo © by SeeToh
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Singapore, 21 August 2016

[edit] Habitat

Breeds on temperate freshwater wetlands with open grassland.
Winters on estuaries, mudflats and sandy shores. Also freshwater margins.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Flight

Fast and energetic. Outline cross-like

[edit] Diet

The diet includes insects, worms, snails, insects, crustaceans, and parts of aquatic plants.

[edit] Breeding

They nest on the ground, usually in short vegetation, laying 3-6 eggs.

Spring male in flightPhoto © by Joe52Bournemouth, Hampshire, UK, 15 March 2016
Spring male in flight
Photo © by Joe52
Bournemouth, Hampshire, UK, 15 March 2016

[edit] Vocalisation

Flight Call: "wicka-wicka-wicka"

Listen in an external program
Molting adult in flightPhoto © by targetmanLincolnshire, UK, 3 September 2018
Molting adult in flight
Photo © by targetman
Lincolnshire, UK, 3 September 2018

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from
  2. BirdLife International. 2017. Limosa limosa (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22693150A111611637. Downloaded on 04 October 2018.
  3. Brazil, M. (2009) Birds of East Asia. Princeton Univ. Press.
  4. Chandler, R. (2009). Shorebirds of North America, Europe, and Asia: A photographic guide. Princeton.
  5. Engelmoer, M. & Roselaar, C. S. (1998): Geographical Variation in Waders. Kluwer Academic Publishers. Dordrecht.
  6. Höglund, J., Johansson, T., Beintema, A. & Schekkerman, H. (2009) Phylogeography of the Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa: substructuring revealed by mtDNA control region sequences. J. Orn. 150(1): 45-53.
  7. Rasmussen & Anderton. 2012. Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Lynx Edicions
  8. Roselaar, C.S.; Gerritsen, Gerrit J. (1991). "Recognition of Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit and its occurrence in the Netherlands" (PDF). Dutch Birding. 13 (4): 128–135.
  9. Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P., Christie, D.A., Garcia, E.F.J. & Boesman, P. (2018). Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 4 October 2018).
  10. Collins Pocket Guide to British Birds 1966
  11. Collins Field Guide 5th Edition

[edit] External Links


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