Black-tailed Godwit

Limosa limosa




Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Olive green blotched with brown

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

22 - 24

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

Among grasses on ground.

Nest Material:

Grass, leaves.





Black-tailed Godwit: Large, tall godwit with black-barred, orange-brown body. Orange-brown head and neck, and white mark between eye and bill; combination of prominent white rump, white wing bar, and pure white underwings is unique among the godwits. Black-tipped pink bill is long and straight. Female is much duller. Winter adult is plain gray with white belly. Juvenile resembles breeding female but lacks bars. Note: Islandica form has richer, chestnut-brown color that extends to the belly.

Range and Habitat

Black-tailed Godwit: Found in a variety of flooded grasslands, estuaries, and exposed mudflats across northern Europe and Asia. Breeds across central Eurasia and winters in sub-Saharan Africa, southeastern Asia, Indonesia, and Australia. Occurs casually on Pribilofs and along the Atlantic Coast from Quebec to Florida.

Breeding and Nesting

Black-tailed Godwit: Breeds on wet grasslands near freshwater marshes. Male performs complex courtship flights, calling and posturing in front of female. Lays four olive green, brown blotched eggs among short grasses. Both parents incubate for 22 to 24 days and care for chicks until their first flight at one month old.

Foraging and Feeding

Black-tailed Godwit: Walks leisurely and gracefully in shallow to fairly deep water, probing soft mud and sand repeatedly with its long stout bill. Nearly always feeds in groups, sometimes numbering in the thousands, that congregate on mudflats and flooded grasslands.


Black-tailed Godwit: Typical calls are "vi-vi-vi" or "weeka weeka." Alarm calls given sound like "kerruc" or "kerruh." Its song is a typical "god-WIT."

Similar Species

Black-tailed Godwit: Bar-tailed Godwit lacks barred underparts. Hudsonian Godwit has darker upperparts and more chestnut underparts.

The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X