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Bar-tailed Godwit - Limosa lapponica

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.Bar-tailed Godwit2

Tavira. Note the distinctly up-curved bill.

Godwit, Bar-tailed The world’s four species of godwit are split between Eurasia and the Americas. Hudsonian Godwit and Marbled Godwit are the American species and Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwit are the Eurasian species, although the breeding range of Bar-tailed Godwit spills over into Alaska. Two are medium-range migrants and two undertake impressively long migrations. Again, migration lengths are split between the regions with Hudsonian and Bar-tailed Godwits being the really long-distance migrants, the former breeding in Alaska and northern Canada and wintering in southern South America while Bar-tailed Godwit breeds in the tundra zone across the width of Eurasia and winters in Western Europe south to the Atlantic coast of South Africa, the Middle East, India, South-east Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Only recently has satellite tagging revealed that Bar-tailed Godwits perform the most remarkable migration of any animal on the planet. After breeding in Alaska, birds set off on a flight that is utterly beyond belief. They fly non-stop over water for seven days to reach New Zealand, a distance of some 7,000 miles. In the spring, flying north, they take it easy, stopping once on the Yellow Sea coast of China (distance approximately 6,250 miles) to feed and rest before continuing direct to their breeding grounds in Alaska.

Bar-tailed Godwits are winter visitors to the Algarve and can best be found on the tidal mudflats of the Canal de Tavira, Quinta de Marim, Ilha de Faro, Quinta do Lago and the Alvor Estuary. In winter plumage, care needs to be taken to separate them from Black-tailed Godwit. Bar-tailed are marginally the smaller with a slightly up-curved bill and light brown upperparts with noticeably darker feather centres creating a blotched appearance. Think of a small curlew with a more or less straight bill

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