species of the week #31 – blackt tailed godwit

The black-tailed godwit is a sympathetic bird for many climate protectors. Because its distinctive call, which – with a little imagination – sounds like “greta-greta”, seems to call for committed climate protection. Because climate change and the draining of moors and wetlands are increasingly destroying their habitat.

Distribution status in Rhineland-Palatinate      extinct
remaining deposits Lower saxony, bavaria, saxony
Last sighting in Rhineland-Palatinate 2011 near Hamm am Rhein
Habitat Wetlands, extensive grassland


Drainage of bogs and wetlands, climate change

Black-tailed Godwits are easily recognized by their long, orange beak with black tip and the brown marbled splendid dress. With its pointed beak, they look in the soft ground for rain or bristle-worms, eats also snails and vegetable food, however. Young birds need baby-food in the beginning in form of small, soft worms.

The females of black-tailed godwits are very demanding in the choice of its nest, therefore the male builds several nest-hollows, that are padded with dry grass. The female chooses a nest and puts four olive-brownish eggs with dark stains there. Both parents take turns with the brooding and defend the nest vehemently even against big gripping-birds. The whole brood-group of up to 20 pairs helps on that occasion. The young chicks are Nestflüchter and look for its food itself. They are accompanied by both parents approximately five weeks, until they became fully-fledged.

After the black-tailed godwit lost its natural brood-areas in swamp, shore- and coast-areas to large parts, the type shifts into the extensively used moist-grassland. Through the intensification of the agriculture, however, the bird becomes increasingly rare also there.

Politically necessary:

  • committed climate protection
  • Rewetting of bogs and wetlands
  • Protection of existing bogs

Picture from Frank Vassem from Brussels, Belgium – Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Uitkerkse Polders, Belgium, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43769859

For the previous species of the week click here