The Black-tailed Godwit is a large wader with long bill ,neck and legs. During breeding , the bill has a yellowish or orange-pink base and dark tip; the base is pink in winter. The sexes are similar, but in breeding plumage, the male has brighter, more extensive orange breast, neck and head. In winter, adults have a uniform brown-grey breast and upperparts . Juveniles have a pale orange wash to the neck and breast. It measures 42 cm from bill to tail with a wingspan of 70 to 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.
Habitat and Distribution
Their breeding range stretches from Iceland to the far east of Russia. They breed in river valley fens, floods at the edges of large lakes, damp steppes. Other habitats include: lowland wet grasslands, coastal grazing marshes, pastures, wet areas near fishponds or sewage works, and saline lagoons and sugar beet fields, marshes and inland ponds. Godwits from the Icelandic winter in the U.K, Ireland, France and the Netherlands. Those from western Europe fly south to Morocco and then on to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. Birds from the eastern European populations migrate to Tunisia and Algeria, then on to Mali or Chad.
In water, the most common feeding method is to probe vigorously, on land , they probe into soft ground, also pricking prey items on the surface. They mainly eat invertebrates, and also aquatic plants in winter.
The nest is a shallow scrape on the ground, usually in short vegetation. The eggs may be hidden with vegetation by the incubating parent.
The single brood of three to six eggs, coloured olive-green to dark brown, measure 55 x 37 mm and weigh 39 g each. Incubation lasts 22 to 24 days and is performed by both parents.
Calls and Songs
The bird ‘s most common call is a strident weeka weeka weeka.