© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Bar-tailed Godwit

Limosa lapponica

  • Family: Sandpipers – Scolopacidae
  • Appearance: A member of the numerous sandpiper family, about the same size as the Whimbrel. Bill very long and slightly upturned. No distinguishable wing bar. Tale whitish with narrow crosswise black stripes. White rump extends to wedge-shaped white patch on lower back. Males in summer plumage largely bright coppery red. Juveniles are yellowish brown with dark patterning.
  • Size: Length 33–41 cm, wingspan 62–72 cm, weight 190–400 g.
  • Nest: In a shallow depression on try terrain concealed among vegetation. Made of plant material and lichen.
  • Breeding: 4 eggs laid in June, incubated by both parents for 20–21 days. Fledglings leave nest very soon and learn to find food for themselves. They learn to fly within about 4 weeks.
  • Distribution: Scarce breeder in open marshy habitats in Central and Northern Lapland. Most important breeding areas in tundra habitats in Northern Russia and Siberia. Finnish breeding population estimated at 2.000–3.000 pairs.
  • Migration: Migrates by day and night. Flies south July–October, returning between late April and June. Often seen in Finland as a passage migrant, sometimes in large flocks. Winters along the western coasts of Europe and Africa, also around the Mediterranean.
  • Diet: Invertebrates.
  • Calls: A nasal, cackling “kwe-ke-ke-ke”.
  • Endangerment: Near threatened, also globally.

Bar-tailed Godwits are wading birds, about the same size as Whimbrels. Their long beaks are slightly upturned. They have no clearly visible wing bars, and their tails are whitish with narrow, crosswise black stripes. Like Whimbrels, they have white colouring on their rumps which extends onto their backs in a wedge shape. Males in breeding plumage have bright coppery red colouring. Females are slightly larger than males, but their summer plumage is paler and duller. Juveniles are yellowish brown with darker patterning. Bar-tailed Godwits have greenish grey legs, blackish brown bills with a slight reddish tinge at the base, and brown irises.

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

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