Bar-tailed Godwit

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Limosa lapponica


Size 38-45cm.

Large pale grey/brown migratory wader, with a long slightly upturned bill which is black with a pink base. Breast pale grey/brown, belly white, tail white with fine brown bars. Sides are pale grey/ brown streaked with dark brown. Long dark grey legs. Underwing is heavily barred. When flying away, it shows a white rump and finely barred tail.

Feeding Habits

Uses its long bill to probe for marine worms, crabs and aquatic insects.


Nests in the Arctic from Scandinavia to Alaska. Sometimes we see the males colouring up for breeding prior to departure from March-April. His head, neck and undersides are rufous (reddish – brown). Female is duller. Some birds stay in this region over the winter period.

Places to Look

Mudflats, estuaries, edges of lakes, swamps and sandbars. Check Bushland Beach or the mudflats at the end of Boundary Street, South Townsville.


Reclamation of mudflats for development takes away suitable feeding habitat.


NQ Dry Tropics gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Birdlife Townsville (formerly the Townsville Region Bird Observers Club) to the information on this page.

© Birdlife Townsville
© Birdlife Townsville

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