Black-tailed Godwit (species: Limosa limosa) in taxonomy (Gaia Guide)
Limosa limosa
Black-tailed Godwit

©Bogbumper: Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

©Bogbumper: Uitkerkse Polders, Belgium

©Isidro Vila Verde: Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Family Scolopacidae
Genus Limosa
Species Limosa limosa
Status near threatened



Distinguishing features

It has a long bill (7.5 cm to 12 cm long), neck and legs. During the breeding season, the bill has a yellowish or orange-pink base and dark tip; the base is pink in winter. The legs are dark grey, brown or black. The sexes are similar, but in breeding plumage, they can be separated by the male's brighter, more extensive orange breast, neck and head.

In winter, adults have a uniform brown-grey breast and upperparts (in contrast to the Bar-tailed Godwit's streaked back).

Juveniles have a pale orange wash to the neck and breast.

In flight, its bold black and white wingbar and white rump can be seen readily. (Wikipedia)


  • From 36 cm to 43 cm (Length of specimen)


  • From 70 cm to 82 cm


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Its breeding range stretches from Iceland through Europe and areas of central Asia. They spend winter in areas as diverse as the Indian Subcontinent, Australia, western Europe and west Africa. The species breeds in fens, lake edges, damp meadows, moorlands and bogs and uses estuaries, swamps and floods in winter. (Wikipedia)


They mainly eat invertebrates, but also aquatic plants in winter and on migration. In the breeding season, prey includes include beetles, flies, grasshoppers, dragonflies, mayflies, caterpillars, annelid worms and molluscs. Occasionally, fish eggs, frogspawn and tadpoles are eaten. In water, the most common feeding method is to probe vigorously, up to 36 times per minute, and often with the head completed submerged. On land, they probe into soft ground and also pick prey items from the surface. (Wikipedia)

Web resources


  • Simpson, K., N. Day and P. Trusler (2004). Field Guide to Birds of Australia: 7th Edition Penguin Group (Australia), Camberwell, Victoria.