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Black-Tailed Godwit

Creative Commons photo by Andreas Trepte

With its long beak, white-barred wings and namesake tail, the Black-Tailed Godwit is a distinctive and elegant bird. The godwit breeds from Iceland all the way through Europe and Siberia to parts of central Asia. It has a diverse migration pattern spanning the Indian Subcontinent, Australia, West Africa and parts of Western Europe.

The main threat for this species is habitat loss. Draining wetlands for dams and agricultural use throughout its main breeding and wintering ranges has left the Godwit homeless. The IUCN Red List categorizes the Black-Tailed Godwit as near threatened— it is estimated that the world population has declined by between 14 and 33 per cent in the past 15 years, according to Bird Life International. 

Scientific Name

  • Limosa limosa

Quick Facts

  • The godwit lives in coastal mudflats and sandy intertidal zones, also inland saline and freshwater marshes. Inland, more likely to be found in freshwater.
  • Found breeding in Iceland throughout Europe, Siberia and  Australia, the Indian Subcontinent, West Africa and parts of Western Europe.
  • Between 614,000-809,000 individuals (wetlands international, 2016)
  • Flyway: East-Asian Australasian and African Eurasian
  • IUCN Red List: Near threatened

IUCN Red List Status

Main Threats

  • Loss of habitat from wetland drainage and agricultural intensification/abandonment.


Map courtesy of IUCN, BirdLife International and the Handbook of Birds of the World 2016

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