Black-tailed godwit

The black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa) is a large, long-legged, long-billed shorebird first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. It is a member of the godwit genus, Limosa. There are three subspecies, all with orange head, neck and chest in breeding plumage and dull grey-brown winter coloration, and distinctive black and white wingbar at all times.

Its breeding range stretches from Iceland through Europe and areas of central Asia. Black-tailed godwits spend (the northern hemisphere) winter in areas as diverse as the Indian Subcontinent, Australia, New Zealand, western Europe and west Africa. The species breeds in fens, lake edges, damp meadows, moorlands and bogs and uses estuaries, swamps and floods in (the northern hemisphere) winter; it is more likely to be found inland and on freshwater than the similar bar-tailed godwit. The world population is estimated to be 634,000 to 805,000 birds and is classified as Near Threatened. The black-tailed godwit is the national bird of the Netherlands

Black-tailed godwit
Black-tailed Godwit Uferschnepfe
breeding plumage
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae
Genus: Limosa
L. limosa
Binomial name
Limosa limosa
Range of L. limosa      Breeding range     Resident range     Wintering range
  • Scolopax aegocephala Linnaeus, 1758
  • Scolopax limosa Linnaeus, 1758


This species was first described, as Scolopax limosa,[2] by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. Its scientific name is derived from Latin and means "muddy", from limus, "mud".[3] The English name was first recorded in about 1416–17 and is believed to imitate the bird's call.[4]

The black-tailed godwit is a member of the genus Limosa (godwits), family Scolopacidae (sandpipers) and order Charadriiformes, the waders.[5] There are three subspecies:[6][7]

  • L. l. limosa(Linnaeus, 1758): the European black-tailed godwit, which breeds from western and central Europe to central Asia and Asiatic Russia, as far east as the Yenisei River.[6] Its head, neck and chest are pale orange.[2]
  • L. l. islandicaBrehm, 1831: the Icelandic black-tailed godwit, which breeds mostly in Iceland, but also on the Faeroe Islands, Shetland and the Lofoten Islands. It has a shorter bill, shorter legs and more rufous coloration extending onto the belly, compared to limosa.[2]
  • L. l. melanuroidesGould, 1846: the Asian black-tailed godwit, which breeds in Mongolia, northern China, Siberia and far eastern Russia.[6] Its plumage is similar to islandica, but the bird is distinctly smaller.[2]


Black-tailed godwit (limosa limosa)
Non-breeding plumage (with pink bill)

The black-tailed godwit is a large wader with long bill (7.5 to 12 cm (3.0 to 4.7 in) long), neck and legs. During the breeding season, the bill has a yellowish or orange-pink base and dark tip; the base is pink in winter. The legs are dark grey, brown or black. The sexes are similar,[2] but in breeding plumage, they can be separated by the male's brighter, more extensive orange breast, neck and head. In winter, adult black-tailed godwits have a uniform brown-grey breast and upperparts (in contrast to the bar-tailed godwit's streaked back). Juveniles have a pale orange wash to the neck and breast.[8]

In flight, its bold black and white wingbar and white rump can be seen readily. When on the ground it can be difficult to separate from the similar Bar-tailed Godwit, but the black-tailed godwit's longer, straighter bill and longer legs are diagnostic.[8][6] Black-tailed godwits are similar in body size and shape to bar-taileds, but stand taller.[2]

It measures 42 cm (17 in) from bill to tail with a wingspan of 70–82 cm (28–32 in).[2] Males weigh around 280 g (9.9 oz) and females 340 g (12 oz).[5] The female is around 5% larger than the male,[2] with a bill 12–15% longer.[9]

The most common call is a strident weeka weeka weeka.

A study of black-tailed godwits in the Netherlands found a mortality rate of 37.6% in the first year of life, 32% in the second year, and 36.9% thereafter.[2]

Distribution and habitat

Black-tailed Goodwit (Limosa limosa) near Hodal W IMG 6621
Winter-plumaged black-tailed godwit, India

Black-tailed godwits have a discontinuous breeding range stretching from Iceland to the far east of Russia.[6] Their breeding habitat is river valley fens, floods at the edges of large lakes, damp steppes, raised bogs and moorlands. An important proportion of the European population now uses secondary habitats: lowland wet grasslands, coastal grazing marshes, pastures, wet areas near fishponds or sewage works, and saline lagoons. Breeding can also take place in sugar beet, potato and rye fields in the Netherlands and Germany.[10]

In spring, black-tailed godwits feed largely in grasslands, moving to muddy estuaries after breeding and for winter.[10] On African wintering grounds, swamps, floods and irrigated paddy fields can attract flocks of birds. In India, inland pools, lakes and marshes are used, and occasionally brackish lakes, tidal creeks and estuaries.[2]

Godwits from the Icelandic population winter mainly in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and the Netherlands, though some fly on to Spain, Portugal and perhaps Morocco.[11] Birds of the limosa subspecies 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.[12] Young birds from the European populations stay on in Africa after their first winter and return to Europe at the age of two years.[10] Asian black-tailed godwits winter in Australia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.

Limosa limosa (flying)-2
In flight

Black-tailed godwits are much more likely to be found on inland wetlands than the more coastal bar-tailed godwit. They migrate in flocks to western Europe, Africa, south Asia and Australia. Although this species occurs in Ireland and Great Britain all year-round, they are not the same birds. The breeding birds depart in autumn, but are replaced in winter by the larger Icelandic race. These birds occasionally appear in the Aleutian Islands and, rarely, on the Atlantic coast of North America.

There is an estimated global population of between 634,000 and 805,000 birds and estimated range of 7,180,000 square kilometres (2,770,000 sq mi).[6] In 2006 BirdLife International classified this species as Near Threatened due to a decline in numbers of around 25% in the previous 15 years.[1] It is also among the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.[13]



Displaying black-tailed godwit
Limosa limosa MHNT
Limosa limosa - MHNT

Black-tailed godwits are mostly monogamous; although it was not recorded in a four-year study of 50–60 pairs, bigamy was considered "probably frequent".[2] A study of the Icelandic population showed that despite spending winter apart, pairs are reunited on their breeding grounds within an average of three days of each other. If one partner does not arrive on time, 'divorce' occurs.[14] They nest in loose colonies. Unpaired males defend a temporary territory and perform display flights to attract a mate. Several nest scrapes are made away from the courtship territory, and are defended from other godwits. Once eggs are laid, an area of 30–50 m (98–164 ft) around the nest is defended.[2] The nest is a shallow scrape on the ground, usually in short vegetation.[15] The eggs may be hidden with vegetation by the incubating parent.[2]

The single brood of three to six eggs, coloured olive-green to dark brown,[2] measure 55 mm × 37 mm (2.2 in × 1.5 in) and weigh 39 g (1.4 oz) each (of which 6% is shell).[5] Incubation lasts 22–24 days and is performed by both parents. The young are downy and precocial and are brooded while they are small and at night during colder weather. After hatching, they are led away from the nest and may move to habitats such as sewage farms, lake edges, marshes and mudflats.[2] The chicks fledge after 25–30 days.[5]

Black-tailed godwit productivity varies, positively, with spring temperatures. However, during extreme events, such as a volcanic eruption, complete breeding failures can occur.[16]

Food and feeding

Manly Marina, SE Queensland, Australia

They mainly eat invertebrates, but also aquatic plants in winter and on migration. In the breeding season, prey includes beetles, flies, grasshoppers, dragonflies, mayflies, caterpillars, annelid worms and molluscs. Occasionally, fish eggs, frogspawn and tadpoles are eaten. In water, the most common feeding method is to probe vigorously, up to 36 times per minute, and often with the head completely submerged. On land, black-tailed godwits probe into soft ground and also pick prey items from the surface.[2]

Relationship to humans

In Europe, black-tailed godwits are only hunted in France, with the annual total killed estimated at 6,000 to 8,000 birds. This puts additional pressure on the western European population, and the European Commission has a management plan in place for the species in its member states.[17] In England, black-tailed godwits were formerly much prized for the table.[18] Sir Thomas Browne (1605–1682) said: "[Godwits] were accounted the daintiest dish in England and I think, for the bignesse, of the biggest price." Old names included Blackwit,[18] Whelp, Yarwhelp, Shrieker, Barker and Jadreka Snipe.[19] The Icelandic name for the species is Jaðrakan.[5]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2017). "Limosa limosa". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017 (amended version of 2016 assessment): e.T22693150A111611637. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-1.RLTS.T22693150A111611637.en. Retrieved 2 June 2018.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p BWPi: The Birds of the Western Palearctic on interactive DVD-ROM. London: BirdGuides Ltd. and Oxford University Press. 2004. ISBN 978-1-898110-39-2.
  3. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 227. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  4. ^ "Godwit". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ a b c d e Robinson, R.A. "Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa". BirdFacts. British Trust for Ornithology. Retrieved 27 April 2009.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Species factsheet: Limosa limosa". BirdLife International. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  7. ^ Clements, James F. (2007). The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-4501-9.
  8. ^ a b Mullarney, Killian; Svensson, Lars; Zetterstrom, Dan; Grant, Peter (1999). Collins Bird Guide. London: HarperCollins. p. 148. ISBN 978-0-00-219728-1.
  9. ^ Vinicombe, Keith. "Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits". Articles. Birdwatch magazine. Archived from the original on 30 November 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  10. ^ a b c Tucker, Graham M.; Heath, Melanie F. (1995). Birds in Europe: Their Conservation Status. BirdLife Conservation Series. 3. Cambridge: BirdLife International. pp. 272–273. ISBN 978-0-946888-29-0.
  11. ^ "About the species". Icelandic Godwits. Project Jaðrakan. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  12. ^ "Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)". Archived from the original on 22 August 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2009.
  13. ^ "Limosa limosa: Black-tailed Godwit". AEWA birds. AEWA. Archived from the original on 9 November 2007. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  14. ^ "Icelandic birds rely on perfect timing". BBC News website. BBC. 3 November 2004. Retrieved 27 April 2009.
  15. ^ Gooders, John (1982). Collins British Birds. London: William Collins Sons & Co Ltd. p. 182. ISBN 978-0-00-219121-0.
  16. ^ Gunnarsson, T. G.; Jóhannesdóttir, L.; Alves, J. A.; Þórisson, B.; Gill, J. A. (2017). "Effects of spring temperature and volcanic eruptions on wader productivity" (PDF). Ibis. 159 (2): 467–471. doi:10.1111/ibi.12449.
  17. ^ "Management Plan for Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)" (PDF). European Commission. Retrieved 27 April 2009.
  18. ^ a b Cocker, Mark; Mabey, Richard (2005). Birds Britannica. London: Chatto & Windus. pp. 113–114. ISBN 978-0-7011-6907-7.
  19. ^ Greenoak, Francesca (1979). All The Birds Of The Air. Book Club Association.

Further reading


Separation of limosa and islandica

External links

Blackwater Estuary

The Blackwater Estuary is the estuary of the River Blackwater between Maldon and West Mersea in Essex. It is a 5,538 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). An area of 4,395 hectares is also designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, and a Special Protection Area 1,099 hectares is a National Nature Reserve. Tollesbury Wick and part of Abbotts Hall Farm, both nature reserve managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust, are in the SSSI.Oysters have been harvested from the estuary for more than a thousand years and there are remains of fish weirs from the Anglo-Saxon era. At the head of the estuary is the town of Maldon, which is a centre of salt production. The other major settlement is the town West Mersea, of Mersea Island, on the northern seaward side. Numerous other villages are on its banks.

Within the estuary is Northey Island which was the location for the first experiments in the UK in 'managed retreat', i.e. creating saltmarsh by setting sea walls back from what are perceived to be unsustainable positions. The area is notable as a breeding area for little tern (Sternula albifrons) and as a transit point for ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula).

Over-wintering species

Pied avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa islandica)

Dark-bellied brent goose (Branta bernicla bernicla)

Dunlin (Calidris alpina alpina)

Eurasian golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

Grey plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus)

Common redshank (Tringa totanus)

Ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)

Common shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)The Estuary is also the current mooring location for the Ross Revenge, the home of former pirate station Radio Caroline

Dengie nature reserve

Dengie nature reserve is a 3,105 hectare biological and geological Site of Special Scientific Interest between the estuaries of the Blackwater and Crouch near Bradwell-on-Sea in Essex. It is also a National Nature Reserve, a Special Protection Area, a Nature Conservation Review site, a Geological Conservation Review site and a Ramsar site. It is part of the Essex estuaries Special Area of Conservation. An area of 12 hectares is the Bradwell Shell Bank nature reserve, which is managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust.It consists of large, remote area of tidal mud-flats and salt marshes at the eastern end of the Dengie peninsula . The Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall overlooks some of the site.

It is a wetland of international importance and provides habitats for:

Bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica)

Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus)

Grey plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

knot (Calidris canutus)

Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa islandica)

Dunlin (Calidris alpina alpina)

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

Dark-bellied brent goose (Branta bernicla bernicla)

Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

Fauna of Estonia

Estonia is a small, heavily forested country situated on the Baltic Sea. It is a part

of Palearctic ecozone (being a transitional area between the Western Palearctic and European-Siberian regions) and temperate northern Atlantic marine ecoregion.Phytogeographically, Estonia is shared between the Central European and Eastern European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the WWF, the territory of Estonia belongs to the ecoregion of Sarmatic mixed forests.

Estonia's sparse population and large areas of forest have allowed stocks of European lynx, wild boar, brown bears, and moose to survive, among other animals. Estonia is thought to have a wolf population of around 200, which is considered slightly above the optimum range of 100 to 200. Estonian birdlife is characterized by rare seabirds like the Steller's eider (Polysticta stelleri), lesser white-fronted goose (Anser erythropus) and black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), wetland birds like the great snipe (Gallinago media), dry open country birds like the corn crake (Crex crex) and European roller (Coracias garrulus) and large birds of prey like the greater spotted eagle (Aquila clanga). Estonia has five national parks, including Lahemaa National Park on the northern coast as the largest. Soomaa National Park, between Pärnu and Viljandi, is known for its wetlands. Reserves such as Käina Bay Bird Reserve and Matsalu National Park (a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention) are also popular with locals and tourists and support a wide variety of birdlife.

Getterön Nature Reserve

Getterön Nature Reserve (Swedish: Getteröns naturreservat) is a nature reserve at Getterön in Varberg Municipality, Sweden. It consists of parts of the peninsula Getterön and an area to the north. It has an area of 350 hectares, of which 235 are land. The reserve was established in 1970.

Getterön Nature Reserve is protected as a Natura 2000 site and included in the Ramsar list.

Getterön Nature Reserve is one of northern Europe's premier birdwatching sites. In the reserve's wetland nesting species like gadwall, garganey, black-tailed godwit, ruff, dunlin, little tern, and pied avocet. The pied avocet also serves as a symbol for the nature reserve. Also in the winters there are many different species at Getterön, for example little grebe, water rail, common kingfisher, Eurasian bittern, bearded reedling, whooper swan, and smew. Also birds of prey, like the peregrine falcon, are common.


The godwits are a group of large, long-billed, long-legged and strongly migratory waders of the bird genus Limosa. Their long bills allow them to probe deeply in the sand for aquatic worms and molluscs. They frequent tidal shorelines, breeding in northern climates in summer and migrating south in winter. In their winter range, they flock together where food is plentiful. A female bar-tailed godwit holds the record for the longest non-stop flight for a land bird.They can be distinguished from the curlews by their straight or slightly upturned bills, and from the dowitchers by their longer legs. The winter plumages are fairly drab, but three species have reddish underparts when breeding. The females are appreciably larger than the males.

Godwits were once a popular British dish. Sir Thomas Browne writing in about 1682 noted that godwits "were accounted the daintiest dish in England".

Groene Hart

The Groene Hart (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈxrunə ˈɦɑrt], Green Heart) is a relatively thinly populated area in the Dutch Randstad. The major Dutch cities of Rotterdam, The Hague, Leiden, Haarlem, Amsterdam and Utrecht lie around this area. Cities inside the Groene Hart include Zoetermeer, Alphen aan den Rijn, Gouda, Woerden and the smaller cities of Schoonhoven, Oudewater, Haastrecht, Nieuwkoop, Montfoort, Waddinxveen, Bodegraven and Boskoop.

The Groene Hart is characterized by its rural character which contrasts the urban areas around it. Agriculture, nature and recreation are the primary activities in the Groene Hart. Residents and urban visitors can often find rest and many green spaces. Mills, dikes and Dutch cows are the primary landmarks of this lowland area. Because of the various separated cycle paths in the Groene Hart, the area can very well be explored by bike. The Groene Hart is of major importance to consolidate the number of Dutch meadow birds. The bird species black-tailed godwit, northern lapwing, and Eurasian oystercatcher can all be found in the area.

Jacques Van Impe

Jacques Van Impe (born 15 January 1941) is a Belgian academic widely published in the field of ornithology. His research is particularly focused on reproduction in the greater white-fronted goose, the bean goose (Anser fabalis rossicus), the Eurasian oystercatcher, the pied avocet, the northern lapwing, the black-tailed godwit, and the common redshank.


Kalnciems (pronunciation ) is a village in the Jelgava municipality of Latvia. Located on the left bank of the Lielupe, 5 km south of the A9 motorway. Distance to Jelgava 24 km, to Riga - 49 km. Because of the dolomite and clay mines - in Kalnciems developed a big building materials industry center next to the Lielupe's waterway and by the end of the 19th century, the finished products were transported to Riga for its new buildings.

It had town rights from 1991 to 2010. The nearby Kalnciems Meadows is a natural habitat for fauna such as the corn crake, spotted crake, and black-tailed godwit.

Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary

Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary is a 143-acre (58 ha) wetland in Maui, Hawaii. This waterfowl sanctuary attracts two endangered Hawaiian bird species, the Hawaiian coot (ʻalae, ʻalae keʻokeʻo) (Fulica alai) and the Hawaiian stilt (aeʻo) (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni). Kanaha Pond was designated a state sanctuary in 1951 and a National Natural Landmark in 1971. .

The site has hosted numerous vagrant birds, including Gray-tailed Tattler and Belted Kingfisher, as well as Hawaii's first record of Black-tailed Godwit.

Krokų Lanka

Krokų Lanka is the only lake of marine origin in Lithuania and the largest lake in the Šilutė District Municipality. It is located in the Nemunas Delta Regional Park on the Baltic Sea shore near Nemunas Delta and Ventė Cape. It covers a territory of 788 ha. Aukštumala bog, covering 3018 ha and used for peat production since 1882, is located just north of the lake and Mingė village is located on the western bank. In the south a narrow strip of water connects the lake with Atmata, a branch of the Neman River.

Krokų Lanka was created when alluvial deposits from the Neman River separated a part of the Curonian Lagoon. The lake is very shallow, with greatest depth of only 2.5 meters, and overgrown with water plants. It is poised to eventually turn into a bog but now it is a paradise for a variety of water birds, including Eurasian bittern (Botaurus stellaris), greylag goose (Anser anser), Montagu's harrier (Circus pygargus), black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata). In spring and fall the lake attracts large groups of migratory birds. Krokų Lanka is also important area for spawning fishes. To protect this environment botanical and zoological reserve, covering 1214 ha, was established in 1992.

L. limosa

L. limosa may refer to:

Legenere limosa, an annual wildflower species endemic to limited portions of Northern California

Limosa limosa, the black-tailed godwit, a shorebird species found from Iceland through Europe and areas of central Asia

Lake Karataş

Lake Karataş (Turkish: Karataş Gölü), also known as Lake Bahçeözü, is a fresh water lake in Burdur Province, Turkey.The lake is situated in Karamanlı ilçe (district) of Burdur Province at 37°23′N 29°58′E. It is a shallow lake with a surface area of. 1,190 ha (2,900 acres). Its north to south dimension is 7 km (4.3 mi). It is a part of the closed basin known as Göller Yöresi ("Turkish Lakes Region") . Its distance to Karamanlı is 16 km (9.9 mi) and to Burdur is 46 km (29 mi). Its elevation with respect to sea level is 1,050 m (3,440 ft).

The main bird species of the lake are Eurasian wigeon, grey heron, white heron, pochard, teal, and black-tailed godwit.

Nätsi-Võlla Nature Reserve

Nätsi-Võlla Nature Reserve is a nature reserve situated in western Estonia, in Pärnu County, made up of several bogs that together form the largest bog area in Pärnu County.

It is an internationally important bird area, with species such as golden eagle, merlin and ruff. The bogs are rich in cloudberries and cranberries. The bogs of Nätsi-Võlla host numerous migratory species, such as the tundra swan (Cygnus columbianus). It also sees an annual congregation of numerous wader species. The bogs are also home to a significant percentage of the total national breeding population of such species as common crane (Grus grus) and black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa). Other birds found here are whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus), Montagu's harrier (Circus pygargus), Eurasian golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria) and Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo)


Piiukaarelaid (alternatively: Piiukaare laid and Piiulaid) is a small, uninhabited islet in the Baltic Sea belonging to the country of Estonia. Piiukaarelaid has an approximate area of 8.5 hectares and a circumference of 1.8 kilometers and is administered by the village of Mereäärse, Varbla Parish, Pärnu County. The islet is fully protected as part of the Varbla Islets Landscape reserve (Estonian: Varbla laidude maastikukaitseala), and is an important breeding site for 54 species of birds, including: the velvet scoter, the little tern, the red-backed shrike, the curlew, the common tern, the Arctic tern, the redshank, the northern shoveler, the gadwall, the black-tailed godwit, the Greylag goose the tufted duck, the mute swan, the common gull, the goosander, the common eider, the lapwing, and others.

RSPB Bowling Green Marsh

Bowling Green Marsh is a nature reserve located on the confluence of the River Exe (at the top end of its estuary) and the River Clyst, near the town of Topsham in Devon. It is managed by the RSPB.

Migratory birds including Siberian brent geese, come to the marsh in the winter to feed. It is a major point of interest for birders across South West Britain, with many rare species present at any one time. Other visitors include osprey, wigeon, teal, avocet and black-tailed godwit, and many other waders. Several fish species inhabit the marsh's many pools. Otters have been sighted here, as well. There is a wheelchair-accessible bird hide on the marshes and a viewing platform, reached by steps, with views down the estuary. Occasionally, very rare vagrants, such as Barrow's goldeneye or king eider, stop at the marshes on their migration.

Stour Estuary

Stour Estuary is a 2,523 hectare biological and geological Site of Special Scientific Interest which stretches from Manningtree to Harwich in Essex and Suffolk. It is also an internationally important wetland Ramsar site, a Special Protection Area and a Nature Conservation Review site. It is part of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and there are Geological Conservation Review sites in Wrabness, Stutton, and Harwich Part of the site is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and a small area is Wrabness Nature Reserve, a Local Nature Reserve managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust.The estuary is nationally important for thirteen species of wintering wildfowl and three on autumn passage, for coastal saltmarsh, sheltered muddy shores, two scarce marine invertebrates, scarce plants and three geological sites. Birds include redshank, black-tailed godwit and dunlin, and there are nationally important sponges, ascidians and red algae. Harwich has thirty ash layers dating to the Eocene Harwich Formation and the succeeding London Clay. Wrabness has the most complete succession of ashes showing the importance of volcanism in southern England in the early Eocene. Stutton has fossils dating to the mid-Pleistocene, including extinct mammals such as straight-tusked elephants, mammoths and giant deer.

Uppu Aru Lagoon

Uppu Aru lagoon is a lagoon in Jaffna District, northern Sri Lanka. The lagoon separates the Valikamam region from the Thenmarachchi region.

The lagoon is linked to Jaffna Lagoon by a short channel to the south. The lagoon's water is brackish.

The lagoon is surrounded by a densely populated region containing palmyra palms, coconut plantations, grassland, rice paddies and extensive vegetable gardens.

The lagoon has extensive mudflats and salt marshes. It is surrounded by mangroves, particularly Avicennia. The lagoon attracts a wide variety of water birds including American flamingoes, ducks, garganey, black-tailed godwit and other shorebirds.


Uuemaarahu is a small, Baltic Sea islet comprising 0.0234 hectares belonging to the country of Estonia.

Uuemaarahu lies 1 kilometer to the southeast of the island of Hellamaa in the Väinameri Strait. It belongs to the administrative municipality of Pühalepa Parish, Hiiu County (Estonian: Hiiu maakond) and is part of the Hiiumaa Islet Landscape Reserve. Other islands nearby include Uuemererahu, Kadakalaid, Ramsi, Hõralaid and Vohilaid.

The islet is an important moulting area for an abundant variety of birds such as: the mute swan, the great black-backed gull, the common gull, the oystercatcher, the Arctic tern, the common eider, the greylag goose, the common goldeneye, the mallard, the goosander, the ruff, the black-tailed godwit, and the barnacle goose.


Whiffling is a term used in ornithology to describe the behavior whereby a bird rapidly descends with a zig-zagging, side-slipping motion. Sometimes to whiffle, a bird flies briefly with its body turned upside down but with its neck and head twisted 180 degrees around in a normal position. The aerodynamics which usually give a bird lift during flying are thereby inverted and the bird briefly plummets toward the ground before this is quickly reversed and the bird adopts a normal flying orientation. This erratic motion resembles a falling leaf, and is used to avoid avian predators or may be used by geese (family Anatidae) to avoid a long, slow descent over an area where wildfowling is practised.The behavior is seen in several species including lesser yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes), the black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), the northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), geese (e.g. pink-footed goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)), three species of scoter (Melanitta), and other members of the family Anatidae.


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