Bar-tailed Godwit: Large shorebird, long upcurved bill, scaled brown, black and gray mottled upperparts, pale red-brown underparts. Tail is white with distinctive dark bars. Legs, feet are dark gray. Feeds by wading in water, probing mud with side-to-side motion. Direct flight with steady wingbeats.
Range and Habitat
Bar-tailed Godwit: Two subspecies occur in North America: 1) Baueri breeds in Alaska and migrates along Pacific coast; 2) European lapponica is a rare migrant along Atlantic coast; breeds on lowland tundra, but sometimes in upland areas with trees. On passage and in winter usually found on coasts, particularly in estuaries and sheltered sandy shores.
Bar-tailed Godwits have recently been shown to undertake the longest non-stop flight of any bird. Using satellite tracking, birds in New Zealand were tagged and tracked all the way to the Yellow Sea in China. The birds flew almost 7,000 miles in 9 days.
Since the birds don’t need their guts to feed during flight, they’ve evolved to shrink them, replacing the weight with fat and muscle.
A group of godwits are collectively known as an "omniscience", "pantheon", and "prayer" of godwits.
They use low pressure systems to help them migrate and take advantage of the 500 to 800 miles of strong tailwinds.
The Bar-tailed Godwit has a rating of Least Concern. This bird has been seen throughout the world and is known to breed on the Arctic coast. At the current time, there is not any grave concern that the population of the Bar-tailed Godwit will become endangered in the next few years. The population of this bird has not decreased more than 30% over the last three generations, which is the standard for concern regarding a possible decrease in population.