Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Black-tailed godwit

Thai: นกปากแอ่นหางดำ, nok paak aen hang dam

Binomial name: Limosa limosa, Carolus Linnaeus, 1758

The Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) is a large, long-legged, long-billed shorebird first described by Carolus Linnaeus in 1758. It is a member of the Limosa genus, the godwits. There are three subspecies, all with orange head, neck and chest in breeding plumage and dull grey-brown winter coloration, and distinctive black and white wingbar at all times.

Its breeding range stretches from Iceland through Europe and areas of central Asia. Black-tailed Godwits 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; it is more likely to be found inland and on freshwater than the similar Bar-tailed Godwit. The world population is estimated to be 634,000 to 805,000 birds and is classified as Near Threatened.

Description

The Black-tailed Godwit is a large wader with long bill (7.5 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, adult Black-tailed Godwits 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. When on the ground it can be difficult to separate from the similar Bar-tailed Godwit, but the Black-tailed Godwit's longer, straighter bill and longer legs are diagnostic. Black-tailed Godwits are similar in body size and shape to Bar-taileds, but stand taller.

It measures 42 cm from bill to tail with a wingspan of 70–82 cm. Males weigh around 280 g and females 340 g. The female is around 5% larger than the male, with a bill 12-15% longer.

The most common call is a strident weeka weeka weeka. A study of Black-tailed Godwits in the Netherlands found a mortality rate of 37.6% in the first year of life, 32% in the second year, and 36.9% thereafter.

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Scientific classification

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

Common names

  • English: Black-tailed godwit
  • French: Barge à queue noire
  • Thai: นกปากแอ่นหางดำ, nok paak aen hang dam

Subspecies

  • Limosa limosa islandica, Christian Ludwig Brehm, 1831

    Common name: Icelandic black-tailed godwit

    Range: Iceland, but also on the Faeroe Islands, Shetland and the Lofoten Islands. It has a shorter bill, shorter legs and more rufous coloration extending onto the belly, compared to limosa.

  • Limosa limosa limosa, Carolus Linnaeus, 1758

    Common name: Asian black-tailed godwit

    Range: Mongolia, northern China, Siberia and far eastern Russia. Its plumage is similar to islandica, but the bird is distinctly smaller.

  • Limosa limosa melanuroides, John Gould, 1846

    Common name: European black-tailed godwit

    Range: From western and central Europe to central Asia and Asiatic Russia, as far east as the Yenisei River. Its head, neck and chest are pale orange.

Synonyms

  • Scolopax limosa, Carolus Linnaeus (1758)

Conservation status

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Near Threatened (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Black-tailed godwit, Limosa limosa in Thailand
  • Amphawa District, Samut Songkhram
  • Ao Phang-Nga National Park
  • Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Phai District, Khon Kaen
  • Bang Lamung District, Chonburi
  • Bang Len District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Bang Pahan District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Pakong District, Chachoengsao
  • Bang Phra Non-hunting Area
  • Bang Pu Recreation Centre
  • Bangkok Province
  • Borabue District, Maha Sarakham
  • Bueng Boraped Non-hunting Area
  • Huai Chorakhe Mak Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Kantharawichai District, Maha Sarakham
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Khao Yoi District, Phetchaburi
  • Ko Libong
  • Ko Sichang District, Chonburi
  • Kumphawapi District, Udon Thani
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • 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 Suphanburi District, Suphan Buri
  • Mueang Trat District, Trat
  • Nong Bong Khai Non-hunting Area
  • Pak Phli District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Pak Thale
  • Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Samut Prakan Province
  • Takua Pa District, Phang Nga
  • Thanyaburi District, Pathum Thani

Range map of Limosa limosa 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, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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