168 Black-tailed Godwit
(Limosa limosa)


37-42cm The Black-tailed Godwit is 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. 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.


The Black-tailed Godwit is fairly common breeder in Hungary on alkali and wet meadows, however has shown decreasing tendency in recent years. The majority of the population breeds on the Great Plain but occurs on several sites in Transdanubia (Lake Fertő, Hanság, Kis-Balaton, Lake Velence, Sárrét) as well. Migrates through the eastern half of the country in many thousands often tens of thousands at drained fishponds and wet grasslands in spring between February and April. Spring migration peaks in late March or early April. Is also common in late summer and autumn on passage from August to November, but numbers are smaller. Occasionally, considerable flocks oversummer locally in the Great Plain on paddy fields, fishponds and alkali lakes.

Can be found in the following IBAs

07 BA)

168 Black-tailed Godwit pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008