How to identify

These large wading birds are a Schedule 1 species, giving them full protection from disturbance. In summer, they have bright orangey-brown chests and bellies, while in winter they're more greyish-brown. Their most distinctive features are their long beaks and legs, and the black and white stripes on their wings. Female Black-tailed Godwits are bigger and heavier than the males, with a noticeably longer beak (which helps the sexes to avoid competing with each other for food). They're very similar to Bar-tailed Godwits, which breed in the Arctic. However, Black-tailed Godwits have longer legs, and Bar-tailed Godwits don't have striped wings. As the names suggest, the tail patterns are different, too.


Black-tailed Godwit

Patrik Åberg / xeno-canto


  1. Resident
  2. Passage
  3. Summer
  4. Winter
* This map is intended as a guide. It shows general distribution rather than detailed, localised populations.
  1. Jan
  2. Feb
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov
  12. Dec

Where best to see them

Key facts

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