Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Charadriiformes Family: Scolopacidae
BTO Codes: BA, BATGO EURING No: 5340
Number in Britain: 38 thousand birds (Winter)
Conservation Status:
European: Not a species of concern
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Passage/Winter Visitor
Subspecies: Monotypic
Length: 38 cm Wingspan: 75 cm Weight: M: 300 g   F: 370 g    
Scientific name from: L.: limus=mud and after Lappland (northern Scandinavia)
World Distribution: BREEDS: n Scandinavia, n Asia & Alaska, WINTERS: Europe, s Asia, Africa & Australia
Habitat: Coastal tundra, on migration mudflats, flooded fields
Diet: Invertebrates, esp insects, molluscs, crustaceans and worms
TitBit: Alaskan Godwits winter in New Zealand, but make the 11 000km journey without stopping, which takes around 7 days, probably the longest non-stop journey of any bird.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: No population trend available
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore   
British Population Size:
    Winter: 38 thousand individuals in 2004/05 - 2008/09
    First Record: Recorded in Medieval times
    Conservation Status: AMBER because Localised Non-breeding Population, Important Non-breeding Population
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern:
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries  and summary map from Time to Fly (in pop-up windows)
European Population Size:
    Summer: 1100 to 4 thousand pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WBD(I,II*), Bern(III), Bonn(II), AEWA
Survey Results:

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 54 x 37 mm Egg Weight: 37.0 g (of which 5 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 0
Clutch Size: 4 eggs
Incubation: 20- 21 days   by the: Male (occ. Female)
Fledging: Unavailable as: Precocial, downy
First Clutches Laid: Unavailable
Number of Broods: 1
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.715 ± 0.079       
Juvenile Survival: No data
Age at First Breeding: 2 years Typical Lifespan: 5 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 33 years 11 months 13 days (set in 2008)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: D2 or E*
Wing Length Sexually dimorphic (female much larger than male)
Male: 212.5 ± 7.7 199 - 224 mm, N =109
Female: 225.7 ± 7.3 212 - 236 mm, N =123
Weight Sexually dimorphic (female much larger than male)
Male: 277.9 ± 26.63 240.0 - 322.0 g , N =93
Female: 331.0 ± 37.37 270.0 - 380.0 g , N =105
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Gaelic: Cearra-ghob Welsh: Rhostog Gynffonfrith
Danish: Lille kobbersneppe Dutch: Rosse grutto
Finnish: Punakuiri French: Barge rousse
German: Pfuhlschnepfe Hungarian: Kis goda
Icelandic: Lappajağrakan Irish: Guilbneach Stríocearrach
Italian: Pittima minore Norwegian: Lappspove
Polish: Szlamnik zwyczajny Portuguese: Fuselo
Spanish: Aguja colipinta Swedish: Myrspov
Local Names: Yarwhelp, Barwit

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Woodley, K. 2009 Godwits: long-haul champions Raupo, Rosedale, New Zealand
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides