Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica


Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: #http://www.aerc.eu/DOCS/Bird_taxa_of _the_WP15.xls#.
Christidis, L. and Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCBaseline.htm#.
Turbott, E.G. 1990. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2016 Near Threatened A2abc+3bc+4abc
2015 Near Threatened A2abc+3bc+4abc
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 9,050,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 310,000,000 medium
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor estimated 2012
Population trend decreasing suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 20-29 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 20-29 - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 8.9 - - -

Population justification: The global population is estimated to number c. 1,099,000-1,149,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2017). The European breeding population is estimated at 3,700-9,000 pairs, which equates to 7,400-18,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). The East Asian-Australasian Flyway population has been estimated at 325,000 individuals (Hansen et al. 2016).

Trend justification: The overall population trend is thought to be decreasing, although some populations may be stable and others have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2015). In Europe (lapponica population) the breeding population trend is unknown however the wintering population trend is increasing (BirdLife International 2015). In West Africa (taymyrensis population) the population decreased between 2003 and 2014 and between 1979 and 2014 (745,803 wintering birds in 1980s, 516,920 in the 1990s and 497,433 in the 2010s) (van Roomen et al. 2014). In East Africa (taymyrensis population) the population trend is unknown (Wetlands International 2015). Approximately 27-28% of the global population uses the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (menzbieri and baueri populations) and there is considerable concern that loss of intertidal stopover habitat in the Yellow Sea region of East Asia is driving population declines in shorebirds (Amano et al. 2010, Yang et al. 2011). Both the menzbieri and baueri populations have experienced strong declines (declines of 79.1% and 30.2% over three generations) according to monitoring data from around Australia and New Zealand (Studds et al. in prep.). An analysis of survival rates provides additional evidence for declines in the menzbieri population. Survival of the species remained relatively high in north-west Australia, however during time away from Australia the population began to decline in 2011, with an annual survival rate of 0.71 between 2011 and 2012 (Piersma et al. 2016). Given the low survival, the study suggests that the population will halve within four years. Recent data also suggests that the baueri population may decline by 44% within 10 years (Conklin et al. 2016).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan extant vagrant
Algeria extant native
American Samoa extant native
Angola extant native
Armenia extant native
Australia extant native yes yes yes
Austria extant native
Azerbaijan extant native yes yes
Bahrain extant native yes yes
Bangladesh extant native
Belarus extant vagrant yes
Belgium extant native yes
Benin extant native yes
Bermuda (to UK) extant vagrant yes
Botswana extant native
Brazil extant vagrant
British Indian Ocean Territory extant native
Brunei extant native
Bulgaria extant native yes
Burundi extant vagrant
Cambodia extant native
Cameroon extant native
Canada extant native
Cape Verde extant native
China (mainland) extant native yes yes
Christmas Island (to Australia) extant vagrant
Comoros extant native
Congo extant native
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the extant vagrant
Côte d'Ivoire extant native
Croatia extant native yes
Cyprus extant native
Czechia extant native
Denmark extant native yes yes
Djibouti extant native
Egypt extant native
Equatorial Guinea extant vagrant
Eritrea extant native
Estonia extant native
Ethiopia extant native yes
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) extant vagrant
Fiji extant native yes yes
Finland extant native yes yes
France extant native yes yes
French Southern Territories extant vagrant
Gabon extant native
Gambia extant native
Georgia extant native
Germany extant native yes yes
Ghana extant native yes
Gibraltar (to UK) extant vagrant
Greece extant native yes yes
Guam (to USA) extant native yes
Guinea extant native
Guinea-Bissau extant native yes
Hong Kong (China) extant native yes yes
Hungary extant native
Iceland extant native yes
India extant native yes
Indonesia extant native yes yes
Iran, Islamic Republic of extant native yes yes
Iraq extant native yes yes
Ireland extant native yes
Israel extant native
Italy extant native yes yes
Japan extant native yes
Jordan extant vagrant
Kazakhstan extant native
Kenya extant native
Kiribati extant native
Kuwait extant native yes yes
Kyrgyzstan extant native
Latvia extant native
Lebanon extant vagrant yes
Liberia extant vagrant
Libya extant native
Liechtenstein extant vagrant
Luxembourg extant vagrant
Madagascar extant native
Malawi extant native
Malaysia extant native yes
Maldives extant native
Malta extant vagrant
Marshall Islands extant native yes
Mauritania extant native yes
Mauritius extant vagrant
Mayotte (to France) extant native
Mexico extant vagrant
Micronesia, Federated States of extant native yes
Moldova extant native
Mongolia extant native yes yes
Montenegro extant vagrant
Morocco extant native
Mozambique extant native yes yes
Namibia extant native
Nauru extant native
Netherlands extant native yes yes
New Caledonia (to France) extant native
New Zealand extant native yes
Nigeria extant native
Niue (to New Zealand) extant native
North Korea extant native yes
North Macedonia extant native yes
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) extant native yes
Norway extant native yes yes
Oman extant native yes yes
Pakistan extant native
Palau extant native yes
Papua New Guinea extant native
Philippines extant native yes yes
Poland extant native yes
Portugal extant native yes
Puerto Rico (to USA) extant native
Qatar extant native yes yes
Réunion (to France) extant vagrant
Romania extant vagrant
Russia extant native yes yes yes
Russia (Asian) extant native yes
Russia (Central Asian) extant native yes yes
Russia (European) extant native yes yes
Samoa extant native yes
São Tomé e Príncipe extant vagrant
Saudi Arabia extant native yes yes
Senegal extant native yes
Serbia extant vagrant
Seychelles extant native
Sierra Leone extant native
Singapore extant native yes yes
Slovakia extant native
Slovenia extant vagrant
Solomon Islands extant native
Somalia extant native
South Africa extant native yes
South Korea extant native yes
Spain extant native yes yes
Sri Lanka extant native
St Helena (to UK) extant native
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) extant vagrant yes
Sudan extant native yes
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) extant vagrant
Sweden extant native yes yes
Switzerland extant native
Syria extant native yes
Taiwan, China extant native yes yes
Tanzania extant native
Thailand extant native yes yes
Timor-Leste extant native yes yes
Togo extant native
Tonga extant native yes
Tunisia extant native yes
Turkey extant native
Turkmenistan extant native
Ukraine extant native yes
United Arab Emirates extant native yes yes
United Kingdom extant native yes yes
USA extant native yes
Uzbekistan extant native
Vanuatu extant native
Venezuela extant vagrant
Vietnam extant native
Virgin Islands (to USA) extant vagrant
Western Sahara extant native
Yemen extant native yes yes
Zambia extant native
Zimbabwe extant vagrant

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Australia Eighty Mile Beach
Australia Great Sandy Strait
Australia Moreton Bay and Pumicestone Passage
Australia Roebuck Bay
China (mainland) Laizhou Wan
China (mainland) Shuangtai (Shuangtaizi) Estuary and Inner Gulf of Liaodong
China (mainland) Yalu Jiang Estuary
Denmark Fanø
Denmark Ho Bugt meadows
Denmark Horsens Fjord, Svanegrunden & Endelave
Denmark Mandø
Denmark Nissum Fjord
Denmark Ringkøbing Fjord
Denmark Rømø
Denmark Skallingen and Langli
Denmark South Læsø
Denmark Tøndermarsken, Magisterkog and Rudbøl Sø
Denmark Vadehavet (Wadden Sea)
Finland Käsivarsi fjelds
Finland Kevo
Finland Lemmenjoki-Hammastunturi-Pulju
Finland Saariselkä and Koilliskaira
Finland Sammutinjänkä-Vaijoenjänkä
France Baie de Bourgneuf et marais breton
France Baie de Goulven
France Baie de Saint-Brieuc
France Baie du Mont Saint Michel et Ile des Landes
France Bassin d'Arcachon et Banc d'Arguin
France Cap Gris-nez
France Estuaire et embouchure de la Seine
France Estuaires picards : baies de Somme et d'Authie
France Jaudy et Sept-Iles
France Marais poitevin et baie de l'Aiguillon
Germany Coast and lagoons of Western Pomerania
Germany Dollart
Germany Einswarder Plate / Tegeler Plate
Germany Elbe marshes between Stade and Otterndorf
Germany Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park
Germany Krummhörn-Westermarsch
Germany Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park
Germany Rysumer Nacken
Germany Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park (includes the Halligs, Kniepsand/Amrum, Lister Koog, Rantumbecken, Rickelsb
Guinea-Bissau Arquipélago dos Bijagós
Guinea-Bissau Cantanhez forests
Guinea-Bissau Ilha de Bolama - Rio Grande de Buba
Guinea-Bissau Lagoas de Cufada
Guinea-Bissau Rio Cacheu
Guinea-Bissau Rio Mansôa and Gêba estuary
Guinea-Bissau Rio Tombali, Rio Cumbijã and Ilha de Melo
Iran, Islamic Republic of Bahu Kalat (Gandu) Protected Area
Iran, Islamic Republic of Khouran Straits
Iran, Islamic Republic of Rud-i-Gaz and Rud-i-Hara deltas
Iran, Islamic Republic of Rud-i-Shur, Rud-i-Shirin and Rud-i-Minab deltas
Iran, Islamic Republic of Shadegan marshes and tidal mudflats of Khor-al Amaya and Khor Musa
Ireland Dublin Bay
Ireland Dundalk Bay
Ireland Dungarvan Harbour
Ireland Lough Foyle
Ireland Wexford Harbour and Slobs
Malaysia North-central Selangor coast
Mauritania Aftout es Sâheli
Mauritania Banc d'Arguin National Park
Mauritania Chott Boul
Mauritania Diawling National Park
Morocco Baie d'Ad Dakhla
Morocco Lagune de Khnifiss
Netherlands Duinen Goeree & Kwade Hoek
Netherlands Oosterschelde
Netherlands Wadden Coast
Netherlands Wadden Sea
Netherlands Westerschelde & Saeftinghe
Norway Altaelvmunningen
Norway Inner Porsangerfjord
Norway Neiden- & Munkefjord
Norway Øvre Anárjohka
Norway Reisa
Norway Varanger Peninsula
Oman Barr al Hikman
Oman Masirah island
Portugal Ria Formosa (Faro lagoon)
Russia (Asian) Gusikha river basin and lower Balakhnya river
Russia (Asian) Malakchan bay
Russia (Asian) Moroshechnaya River
Russia (Asian) Ola lagoon
Russia (Asian) Perevolochny bay
Russia (Asian) Rekinninskaya bay
Russia (Central Asian) Basins of the Schuchya and Khadytayakha rivers
Russia (Central Asian) Valley of headwaters of the river Schuchya
Russia (European) Seskar island
Saudi Arabia Jizan Bay
Saudi Arabia Tarut Bay
Senegal Delta du Saloum
Senegal Djoudj wetlands
Senegal Joal-Fadiouth
Senegal Kalissaye Avifaunal Reserve
Senegal La Petite Côte
Senegal Parc National de la Langue de Barbarie
Sierra Leone Yawri Bay
South Korea Asan Bay (including Asan-ho lake and Sapgyo-ho lake)
South Korea Baeksu tidal flat
South Korea Dongjin estuary
South Korea Geum-gang river and estuary
South Korea Mangyeong estuary
South Korea Nakdong-gang estuary
South Korea Namyang Bay
South Korea Suncheon Bay
South Korea Tidal flat area of Yeongjong-do island
South Korea Yubu-do island
Spain Cádiz bay
Spain Cape Candelaria-Ortigueira estuary-Cape Estaca de Bares
Spain Costa da Morte
Spain Ebro delta
Spain Isla Cristina and Ayamonte marshes and Prado lagoon
Sweden Tavvavouma
Tunisia Îles Kneiss
Ukraine Syvash Bay
United Arab Emirates Abu Al Sayayif
United Arab Emirates Marawah Island
United Kingdom Chichester and Langstone Harbours
United Kingdom Exe Estuary
United Kingdom Firth of Forth
United Kingdom Firth of Tay and Eden Estuary
United Kingdom Gibraltar Point
United Kingdom Hamford Water
United Kingdom Humber Estuary
United Kingdom Lindisfarne
United Kingdom Lough Foyle and River Foyle
United Kingdom Mid-Essex Coast
United Kingdom Moray Basin, Firths and Bays
United Kingdom Morecambe Bay
United Kingdom North Norfolk Coast
United Kingdom Ribble and Alt Estuaries
United Kingdom Strangford Lough and islands
United Kingdom The Swale
United Kingdom The Wash
United Kingdom Uists Machairs, Lochs and Coast
United Kingdom Upper Solway Flats and Marshes
USA Egegik Bay
USA Nelson Lagoon-Mud Bay

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Intertidal Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Coral Reef - Back Slope suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Coral Reef - Foreslope (Outer Reef Slope) suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Coral Reef - Inter-Reef Rubble Substrate suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Coral Reef - Inter-Reef Soft Substrate suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Coral Reef - Lagoon suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Coral Reef - Outer Reef Channel suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries major non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Wetlands (inland) Tundra Wetlands (incl. pools and temporary waters from snowmelt) major breeding
Altitude 0 - 440 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Marine & freshwater aquaculture - Industrial aquaculture Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Majority (50-90%) Unknown Unknown
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Energy production & mining Oil & gas drilling Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 3
Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Whole (>90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 7
Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Spartina anglica Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Problematic native species/diseases - Unspecified species Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Viral/prion-induced diseases - Avian Influenza Virus (H5N1 subtype) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Likely to Return Unknown Unknown No/Negligible Impact: 0
Species mortality
Natural system modifications Dams & water management/use - Dams (size unknown) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Natural system modifications Other ecosystem modifications Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Whole (>90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 7
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Pollution Industrial & military effluents - Oil spills Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Whole (>90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 7
Ecosystem degradation
Residential & commercial development Commercial & industrial areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Residential & commercial development Housing & urban areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - non-trivial recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - non-trivial recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Limosa lapponica. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/bar-tailed-godwit-limosa-lapponica on 06/06/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 06/06/2023.