Birding

Prayer of Godwits

DSCN8837Godwits are long-legged waders, and whilst it can sometimes be a struggle to know if you are looking at a Bar-Tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) or Black-Tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa they are as a group of waders unmistakable because of their large size and long beaks. They can feed in quite deep water, and their diet will include adult and larval insects (especially beetles), marine worms, molluscs, and crustaceans, although they will also take earthworms on grasslands and occasionally larval amphibians and small fish.

Prayer in Close Up
Prayer in Close Up

In preparing this post I came across little nugget of information by Paul Stancliffe on the excellent BTO website which I’m hoping might help with our Bar or is it Black moments;

As a schoolboy birdwatcher my maths teacher, also a birdwatcher, told me that the easiest way to separate the two godwits was to look at the distance between the ‘knee’ and the body. On Black-tailed you can write the word BLACK, and on Bar-tailed you only have room to write the word BAR, the ‘knee’ being much closer to the body.

They are another migratory wader, with the majority travelling from Africa to the Arctic for the summer, and returning for the winter. Over the past 30 years increasing numbers are spending their winters and summers in Europe, including the UK, overall though it would seem the numbers are decreasing. The falling population of Black-Tailed Godwits is of particular concern, and they are now on the European Red List of vulnerable species.

Bar Tailed Godwit in Summer Plumage
Bar Tailed Godwit in Summer Plumage

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