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Order Waders, Gulls, Skuas/Charadriiformes, Family Sandpipers/Scolopacidae

Black-tailed Godwit/Limosa limosa - Adult

L 37-42 cm (incl. bill 8-11), WS 63-74 cm. Breeds on extensive wet meadows, grassy marshes, boggy moorland. On passage and in winter, frequents mainly estuaries, saltings, coastal mudflats and lagoons; also inland marshes.
IDENTIFICATION: About the size of Whimbrel, but outline slimmer. When plumage differences not discernible, told from Bar-tailed Godwit on ground by longer tibiae, slightly longer and straighter bill (straight or very slightly upcurved, more obviously curved on Bar-tailed). Unmistakable in flight: broad white wing-bar, black tail-band, square white rump, and equally long projection of bill/head and tail/legs at each end of body giving distinctive elongated look. Bill in summer yellowish or orange-flesh with dark tip, pink-based in winter. - Adult summer: male acquires much more extensive and brighter orange-rufous summer plumage than female; belly and undertail-coverts whitish, and flanks barred (ad. summer male Bar-tailed entirely darker rufous below). - Adult winter: Plain brown-grey breast and upperparts (Bar-tailed streaked). - Juvenile: Neck and breast tinged cinnamon-buff (of variable strength); wing-coverts pale-fringed with black subterminal spots (Bar-tailed more streaked pattern). - Variation: Icelandic birds (ssp. islandica) have shorter bill and legs, and deeper rufous summer plumage below extending further down on the breast, than in rest of Europe (limosa).
VOICE: Flight-call a quick, reedy, slightly nasal ‘vi-vi-ve!’ and a Lapwinglike ‘vääh-it’. Noisy when breeding: song (partly in complex display-flight) opens with nasal, drawling ‘kehi-e-itt kehi-e-itt kehi-e-itt …’, turning into rapid, rhythmic ‘weddy-whit-o weddy-whit-o weddy-whit-o …’.

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