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8

Bar-tailed Godwit

(Limosa lapponica)
Alternate name(s): "Bar-rumped Godwit"
Size: 37-39 cm; wing span 70-80 cm
Weight: 190-400 g (male), 260-630 g (female)

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Bar-tailed Godwit at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "baueri"

ADULT

BREEDING

Near-frontal view of a Bar-tailed Godwit in near-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Nudgee Beach, QLD, February 2018]

Near-frontal view of a Bar-tailed Godwit in near-breeding plumage, front, with another one in non-breeding plumage behind (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Deception Bay, QLD, February 2018]

Near-lateral view of a Bar-tailed Godwit in near-breeding plumage, front, with another one in non-breeding plumage behind (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Deception Bay, QLD, February 2018]

Close-up lateral view of a Bar-tailed Godwit in near-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Deception Bay, QLD, February 2018]

Near-dorsal view of a Bar-tailed Godwit in near-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Deception Bay, QLD, February 2018]

Bar-tailed Godwits, some of which (brown front) are moulting into breeding plumage, here seen together with two Great Knots (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Lee Point, Darwin, NT, March 2013]

Bar-tailed Godwits, one of which (brown front) is moulting out of breeding plumage, here seen together with lots of Curlew Sandpipers and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Stockton Sand Spit, near Newcastle, NSW, February 2018]

NON-BREEDING

Frontal view of a Bar-tailed Godwit in non-breeding plumage
[Near Old Bar, NSW, June 2011]

Frontal view of a Bar-tailed Godwit in non-breeding plumage digging up prey in a mudflat
[Inskip Point, QLD, December 2017]

Near-frontal view of a Bar-tailed Godwit in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Lady Elliot Island, near Agnes Water, QLD, January 2016]

Near-lateral view of a Bar-tailed Godwit in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Deception Bay, QLD, February 2018]

Near-lateral view of a Bar-tailed Godwit in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Deception Bay, QLD, February 2018]

Close-up lateral view of a Bar-tailed Godwit in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Deception Bay, QLD, February 2018]

Lateral view of a Bar-tailed Godwit in non-breeding plumage seen strutting through shallow water
[Near Old Bar, NSW, June 2011]

Lateral view of a Bar-tailed Godwit, right, together with a Black-tailed Godwit, left, both in non-breeding plumage; in the foreground a number of Great Knots in transitional and non-breeding plumages can be seen (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Lee Point, Darwin, NT, March 2013]

Lateral view of a Bar-tailed Godwit in non-breeding plumage in a mudflat
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, March 2015]

Near-dorsal view of a Bar-tailed Godwit in non-breeding plumage
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, January 2011]

Near-dorsal view of a Bar-tailed Godwit in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Lady Elliot Island, near Agnes Water, QLD, January 2016]

Dorsal view of a snoozing Bar-tailed Godwit in non-breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Toorbul wader roost, Brisbane, QLD, January 2018]

This Bar-tailed Godwit is displaying very prominently not only its underwing pattern, but also the characteristic (and name-giving) barred tail
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, September 2016]

This Bar-tailed Godwit is poking around in the mud, just under the water's surface
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, January 2011]

The same Bar-tailed Godwit again, now seen preening...

... and again the same Bar-tailed Godwit, now doing something else...
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, January 2011]

Bar-tailed Godwits in non-breeding plumage, together with (smaller) Grey-tailed Tattlers (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Wynnum Foreshore, Brisbane, QLD, August 2017]

Bar-tailed Godwit in flight
[Near Old Bar, NSW, June 2011]

Small flock of Bar-tailed Godwits coming towards the observer...
[Near Old Bar, NSW, September 2011]

... then turning away, in the process showing their name-giving barred tails
[Near Old Bar, NSW, September 2011]

Small flock of Bar-tailed Godwits seen by us at an ephemeral lake
[Goran Lake, NSW, October 2011]

Again the characteristic tails of the Bar-tailed Godwits can be seen in a dorsal view
[Goran Lake, NSW, October 2011]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Near-frontal view of a Bar-tailed Godwit in non-breeding plumage, right, with a second, more buff-tinted bird with a visibly shorter bill, left, that may be a juvenile (photo courtesy of D. Dyer)
[Ronsard Bay, Cervantes, WA, May 2014]

Race "menzbieri"

ADULT

NON-BREEDING

Near-dorsal view of Bar-tailed Godwits in flight; note how the white bars go well up the back of the birds, which is characteristic for this race (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Lee Point, Darwin, NT, August 2017]

Comparison with Grey-tailed Tattler

A series of photos comparing a Grey-tailed Tattler with a Bar-tailed Godwit is available HERE.

Race "lapponica"

Photos of nominate race "lapponica" were obtained by us in Oman.

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Migratory Elementary unit: Flock

 

Food, Diet

Bar-tailed Godwits feed on animals they dig out of the soil in marshes with their long bills, such e.g. molluscs, worms or crabs.

This Bar-tailed Godwit has just caught breakfast, a mudcrab
[Near Old Bar, NSW, June 2011]

This Bar-tailed Godwit has dug up a mollusc from a mudflat
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, March 2015]

This Bar-tailed Godwit has dug up a worm from a mudflat
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, March 2015]

Bar-tailed Godwit foraging under water, along the edge of a mangrove swamp
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, January 2011]

Bar-tailed Godwit foraging in the sand of a mudflat
[Urunga board walk, Urunga Heads, NSW, March 2015]

These Bar-tailed Godwits are foraging, not - as one usually observes - at the water's edge, but ontop of a sand dune
[Near Old Bar, NSW, June 2011]

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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