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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki. Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Black-tailed Godwit

Limosa limosa

  • Family: Sandpipers – Scolopacidae
  • Appearance: A large wader, about the same size as a Whimbrel, with a very long straight bill. Wings dark with a broad white band, tail white and black, white colouring on rump does not extend onto back. In summer plumage adults have striking copper red colouring, juveniles have yellowish brown mottled plumage.
  • Size: Length 37–42 cm, wingspan 63–74 cm, weight 160–440 g.
  • Nest: In a fairly deep depression, lined with sedges. Will add to nest to raise its height if water levels rise.
  • Breeding: 4 eggs laid in May, incubated by both parents for 23–24 days. Fledglings leave the nest soon after hatching and quickly learn to find food. They then learn to fly within about a month.
  • Distribution: First observed in Finland in 1903. Hs become more common since the 1950s. First bred in Finland at Hailuoto near Oulu in 1955. Finnish breeding population estimated at 100–130 pairs. Nests in open water meadows and farmland.
  • Migration: Birds leave Finland between early June and October, returning April–May, after wintering around the Mediterranean or in Africa.
  • Diet: Invertebrates.
  • Calls: Rapid series of almost cuckoo-like shrill calls “kyi-ki-ki-ki-ki”.
  • Endangerment: Vulnerable, protected in Finland. Globally Near threatened.

Black-tailed Godwits are members of the extensive and diverse sandpiper family. They are as large as Whimbrels, and have very long straight bills. Their wings are dark with a broad white band, their tails are white and black, and they have white colouring on their rumps, which does not extend onto their backs. In their summer plumage adults have copper red heads, necks and chests, pale bellies, and crosswise striped flanks. Juveniles have similar patterning to adults in summer plumage on their wings and back, but they lack any copper colouring and instead have yellowish grey underparts.

Black-tailed Godwits have greenish black legs, their beaks are yellowish brown or yellowish orange with black tips, and their irises are dark brown. They perform a distinctive swinging and swaying courtship display flight.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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