Bar-tailed Godwit (species: Limosa lapponica) in taxonomy (Gaia Guide)
Limosa lapponica (2)
Bar-tailed Godwit

©Leo: Bega Valley, New South Wales, Australia

©Francesco Canu: Sardinia (Italy)

©Patrick Kavanagh: Shoalhaven Head, NSW
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Family Scolopacidae
Genus Limosa
Species Limosa lapponica
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

It has a distinctive black-and-white barred tail, from which this species gets its common name. It has blue-grey legs and a dark, slightly upturned bill with a pink base.

The breeding plumage of the male is a rich chestnut across the back and breast while the non-breeding plumage is a relatively dull grey-brown. The female and juvenile have a similar grey-brown plumage, with the juvenile showing slightly more buff colouration.


  • From 37 cm to 41 cm (Length of specimen)


  • From 0.19 kg to 0.4 kg - applies to Males
  • From 0.26 kg to 0.63 kg - applies to Females


  • From 70 cm to 80 cm


Similar taxa

Interesting facts

  • It performs the longest non-stop migration of any land bird (approximately 10,400km over about 175 hours). This non-stop flight requires large fat reserves and the ability to shrink the internal organs to reduce weight while in flight.


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution: Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)

Audio recordings


calls of 2 birds after being flushed from a small beach at Viareggio, Lucca, Tuscany in Italy

© Marco Dragonetti


Piesj��nk��, Utsjoki, Lapland in Finland

© Tero Linjama

Web resources


  • Simpson, K., N. Day and P. Trusler (2004). Field Guide to Birds of Australia: 7th Edition Penguin Group (Australia), Camberwell, Victoria.
  • Smith, G.C. (1987). The birds of Eagle Island, a tropical sand cay on the northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia, The Sunbird, 17(1): 1-11. LIRS catalog number 245.