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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Bar-tailed Godwit

Hebrides bird sightings - Bar-tailed Godwit

Bar-tailed Godwit

Limosa lapponica

Gaelic: Cearra-ghob-mhòr

Photograph © Debbie Bozkurt
Balivanich - South Uist - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
24th March, 2007


Our Godwit photographs

Black-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed godwit
Bar-tailed godwit
Bar-tailed godwit

Black-tailed Godwit
20th April 2007

Bar-tailed Godwit
24th March 2007

Bar-tailed Godwit
20th May 2007

Bar-tailed Godwit
10th November 2007


  • Bar-tailed Godwit
  • Limosa lapponica
  • Gaelic: Cearra-ghob-mhòr
  • Passage/Winter Visitor (A few non-breeding birds seen through summer)
  • UK: AMBER LIST, (winter) 53,000 (BTO) (the majority overwinter in just 3 English estuaries)
  • WI: Fairly common passage (occurs in small numbers) and fairly common winter visitor (occurs in small numbers)
  • Breeds: Arctic : Scandinavia, Siberia, North Asia & Alaska
  • Winters: Heads south: Europe (inc Western Isles), South Asia, Africa & Australia, New Zealand
  • Habitat: Coastal bird: tundra, (migration mudflats) flooded fields, estuaries
  • Diet: Insects, molluscs (inc snails), crustaceans & worms (usually in deep in mud, hence long bill)
  • Long-billed, long-legged wader. Winter grey-brown or off-white. Spring (breeding) males neck, breast & belly rich chestnut or brick-red. Adult: blue-grey legs, very long dark bill with slight upward curve & pink tip. Female much larger than male. ID from Black-tailed Godwit by having barred, NOT all black tail & NO white wing bars.
  • Max recorded age 30yrs
  • Listen Bar-tailed Godwit (RSPB site)
  • similar birds: Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel


The old name for the Bar-tailed Godwit Preen means dagger or bodkin.

Alaskan Bar-Tailed Godwits go all the way down to New Zealand to over-winter. It is a 7 day non-stop 11570km journey (no feeding) and probably the longest non-stop journey any bird makes.


Bar-tailed Godwit records in the Western Isles

Fairly common passage (occurs in small numbers) and fairly common winter visitor (occurs in small numbers)
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)

On the chart below the darker the shade of blue the more abundant the Bar-tailed Godwit is during a month or the more likely you are to see it.

























(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)




Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

Debbie's online photo album

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