Bar-tailed Godwit

Limosa lapponica

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4

BTGO

Code 6

LIMLAP

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Near Threatened

The Bar-tailed Godwit has a fairly large breeding range of 1,470,000 square kilometers. This includes open bogs, river valleys, and marshy tundra in northern Scandinavia, Russia, and Alaska. It winters in estuaries and the edges of mangrove forests in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, southern Asia, and Australasia. This species has declined in recent years and continues to be threatened by destruction of estuaries that it uses during migration and the winter, especially in the Yellow Sea region. Because of these declines and threats, the Bar-tailed Godwit has a conservation rating of Near Threatened.

SUMMARY

Overview

Bar-tailed Godwit: This large shorebird has a long upcurved bill, scaled brown, black and gray mottled upperparts and pale red-brown underparts. The tail is white with dark bars and the legs and feet are dark gray. It has a direct flight with steady wing beats. The female is larger than the male with a longer bill and has a little red-brown color. It feeds on mollusks, worms and aquatic insects.


Range and Habitat

Bar-tailed Godwit: Two subspecies occur in North America: 1) Baueri breeds in Alaska and migrates along Pacific coast; 2) European lapponica is a rare migrant along Atlantic coast; breeds on lowland tundra, but sometimes in upland areas with trees. On passage and in winter usually found on coasts, particularly in estuaries and sheltered sandy shores.

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Bar-tailed Godwit SONGS AND CALLS

Bar-tailed Godwit L1

High-pitched flight calls.

Bar-tailed Godwit L2

Aggressive calls given with the head down and tail up.

Similar Sounding

Black-tailed Godwit P1

Song is a "god-WIT" or "a-wik-a-wik".


Voice Text

"tititi", "kuwit"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Bar-tailed Godwits have recently been shown to undertake the longest non-stop flight of any bird. Using satellite tracking, birds in New Zealand were tagged and tracked all the way to the Yellow Sea in China. The birds flew almost 7,000 miles in 9 days.
  • They use low pressure systems to help them migrate and take advantage of the 500 to 800 miles of strong tailwinds.
  • Since the birds don't need their guts to feed during flight, they've evolved to shrink them, replacing the weight with fat and muscle.
  • A group of godwits are collectively known as an "omniscience", "pantheon", and "prayer" of godwits.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

RANGE MAP HAWAII

About this Hawaii Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Hawaiian island.

RANGE MAP PALAU

About this Palau Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Palau islands.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Artist

Chris Vest

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X