KEY SPECIES

Bird Watching (UK) - - Bird The World -

BLACK-TAILED GODWIT This el­e­gant species is a mem­ber of the strongly-mi­gra­tory Li­mosa genus of the wader fam­ily. There are three other species of the godwit fam­ily: the fa­mil­iar Bar-tailed, Hud­so­nian and Mar­bled God­wits. The lat­ter two species are re­stricted to the Amer­i­cas and although the Hud­so­nian Godwit has turned up in the UK a few times the Mar­bled, which is also the world’s largest godwit, is yet to make foot­fall on Bri­tish mud. Black-tailed God­wits are cur­rently Red Listed in the UK and are a very rare re-colonised breed­ing bird. They were once reg­u­lar breed­ers across large parts of Bri­tain but drain­ing of the fen­lands that they favoured, plus the over-har­vest­ing by bird catch­ers, com­bined with rep­u­ta­tion as be­ing good for the ta­ble, led to their demise. They re­turned to East Anglia as breed­ers as re­cently as 1952. Many of the birds that oc­cur at Belfast Lough are of the Is­landic race is­landica, in­di­vid­u­als (as be­low) of which some­times go on to end up in Por­tu­gal. This race tends to be brighter brick-red around the neck and un­der­parts.

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