Bar-tailed godwit

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Bar-tailed godwit
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Limosa lapponica
(Linnaeus, 1758)
A flock landing in Tasmania, Australia. Note the barring on the tail

The bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica) is a water bird. It is a large wader in the family Scolopacidae. It breeds on Arctic coasts and tundra mainly in the Old World, and winters on coasts in temperate and tropical regions of the Old World.[2]

Its migration is the longest known non-stop flight of any bird and also the longest journey without pausing to feed by any animal.[3]

Migrations[change | change source]

The routes of satellite tagged bar-tailed godwits migrating north from New Zealand to Korea and China

The bar-tailed godwit migrates in flocks to coasts in East Asia, Alaska, Australia, Africa, northwestern Europe and New Zealand, where the sub-species Limosa lapponica baueri is called Kūaka in Māori.[4][5][6]

In 2007 birds in New Zealand were tagged and tracked by satellite to the Yellow Sea in China. According to Clive Minton (Australasian Wader Studies Group) "The distance between these two places is 9,575 kilometres (5,950 mi), but the actual track flown by the bird was 11,026 kilometres (6,851 mi)".[7] The flight took about nine days.This is the longest known non-stop flight of any bird. At least three other bar-tailed godwits reached the Yellow Sea after non-stop flights from New Zealand.[7]

One female in the flock, nicknamed "E7", flew onward from China to Alaska and stayed there for the breeding season. Then on 29 August 2007 she departed on a non-stop flight from the Avinof Peninsula in western Alaska to the Piako River near Thames New Zealand, setting a new known flight record of 11,680 kilometres (7,258 mi).[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. BirdLife International (2012). "Limosa lapponica". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  2. del Hoyo J; Elliott A. & Sargatal J. eds 1996. Handbook of the birds of the world, vol 3, Lynx Ediciones. Barcelona. ISBN 84-87334-15-6.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Gill R.E. et al 2009. Extreme endurance flights by landbirds crossing the Pacific Ocean: ecological corridor rather than barrier?Proc Biol Sci.276(1656):447-57. PDF Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Heather Barrie & Hugh Robertson 2005. The field guide to the birds of New Zealand. revised ed, Viking.
  5. "New Zealand birding network brings you the best of New Zealand birding". Archived from the original on 2013-02-08. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
  6. Stap, Don. 2009. The flight of the Kuaka. Living Bird.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Shorebird migration". Archived from the original on 2009-05-09. Retrieved 2013-05-16.