Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Bar-tailed godwit

Thai: นกปากแอ่นหางลาย, nok paak aen hang lai

Binomial name: Limosa lapponica, Carolus Linnaeus, 1758

The bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica) is a large wader in the family Scolopacidae, which breeds on Arctic coasts and tundra mainly in the Old World, and winters on coasts in temperate and tropical regions of the Old World and of Australia and New Zealand. Its migration is the longest known non-stop flight of any bird and also the longest journey without pausing to feed by any animal.

Description

The bar-tailed godwit is a relatively short-legged species of godwit. The bill-to-tail length is 37 - 41 cm, with a wingspan of 70 - 80 cm. Males average smaller than females but with much overlap; males weigh 190 - 400 g, while females weigh 260 - 630 g; there is also some regional variation in size (see subspecies, below). The adult has blue-grey legs and a very long dark bill with a slight upward curve and pink at the tip. The neck, breast and belly are unbroken brick red in breeding plumage, off white in winter. The back is mottled grey.

It is distinguished from the black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa) by its barred, rather than wholly black, tail and a lack of white wing bars. The most similar species is the Asiatic dowitcher.

There are three subspecies, listed from west to east:

  • Limosa lapponica lapponica (Carolus Linnaeus, 1758). Breeds from northern Scandinavia east to the Taymyr Peninsula; winters western coasts of Europe and Africa from the British Isles and the Netherlands south to South Africa, and also around the Persian Gulf. Smallest subspecies, males up to 360 g, females to 450 g.
  • Limosa lapponica menzbieri (Leonid Aleksandrovich Portenko, 1936). Breeds northeastern Asia from the Taymyr Peninsula east to the Kolyma River delta; winters southeastern Asia and Australia. Intermediate between the other two subspecies.
  • Limosa lapponica baueri (Johann Friedrich Naumann, 1836). Breeds far northeastern Asia east of the Kolyma River, and western Alaska; winters in Australia and New Zealand. Largest subspecies.

Diet

It forages by probing in mudflats or marshes. It may find insects by sight in short vegetation. It eats mainly insects and crustaceans, but also parts of aquatic plants.

Breeding

The bar-tailed godwit is a non-breeding migrant in Australia. Breeding take place each year in Scandinavia, northern Asia, and Alaska. The nest is a shallow cup in moss sometimes lined with vegetation. Both sexes share incubation of the eggs and care for the young.

Migrations

The bar-tailed godwit migrates in flocks to coastal East Asia, Alaska, Australia, Africa, northwestern Europe and New Zealand, where the sub-species Limosa lapponica baueri is called Kūaka in Māori.

It was shown in 2007 to undertake the longest non-stop flight of any bird. Birds in New Zealand were tagged and tracked by satellite to the Yellow Sea in China. According to Dr. Clive Minton (Australasian Wader Studies Group) "The distance between these two locations is 9575 km, but the actual track flown by the bird was 11026 km. This was the longest known non-stop flight of any bird. The flight took approximately nine days. At least three other bar-tailed godwits also appear to have reached the Yellow Sea after non-stop flights from New Zealand."

One specific female of the flock, nicknamed "E7", flew onward from China to Alaska and stayed there for the breeding season. Then on 29 August 2007 she departed on a non-stop flight from the Avinof Peninsula in western Alaska to the Piako River near Thames New Zealand, setting a new known flight record of 11680 km.

Protection

The bar-tailed godwit is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

This article uses material from Wikipedia released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike Licence 3.0. Eventual photos shown in this page may or may not be from Wikipedia, please see the license details for photos in photo by-lines.

Videos of Bar-tailed godwit

  • Bar-tailed godwit

    Bar-tailed godwit

  • Bar-tailed godwit

    Bar-tailed godwit

  • Bar-tailed godwit

    Bar-tailed godwit

Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Charadriiformes
Family
Scolopacidae
Genus
Limosa
Species
Limosa lapponica

Common names

  • English: Bar-tailed godwit
  • French: Barge rousse
  • Thai: นกปากแอ่นหางลาย, nok paak aen hang lai

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Bar-tailed godwit, Limosa lapponica in Thailand
  • Amphawa District, Samut Songkhram
  • Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi
  • Bang Pu Recreation Centre
  • Hat Chao Mai National Park
  • Hat Noppharat Thara - Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park
  • Khao Lak - Lam Ru National Park
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Klaeng District, Rayong
  • Ko Libong
  • Ko Samui District, Surat Thani
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Mu Ko Similan National Park
  • Mueang Chonburi District, Chonburi
  • Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
  • Mueang Pattani District, Pattani
  • Mueang Phetchaburi District, Phetchaburi
  • Mueang Samut Sakhon District, Samut Sakhon
  • Mueang Samut Songkhram District, Samut Songkhram
  • Mueang Satun District, Satun
  • Pak Thale
  • Takua Pa District, Phang Nga

Range map of Limosa lapponica in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits and Parinya Pawangkhanant for their help with many range data.

Contribute or get help with ID

Please help us improving our species range maps. To add a new location to the range map we need a clear image of the specimen you have encountered. No problem if you do not know the species, we will do our best to identify it for you.

For the location, please provide the district name or the national park/ wildlife sanctuary name.

Please post your images to our Thai Species Identification Help group on Facebook.