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Bar-tailed Godwit Photos

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Range map of the Bar-tailed Godwit We studied the migration patterns of two subspecies of the Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica).  The baueri subspecies (blue range on map) breeds in Alaska, spends the non-breeding season in New Zealand and east Australia, and stops during northbound migration at staging areas in East Asia.  The menzbieri subspecies (green range) breeds in Siberia, spends the non-breeding season in northwest Australia, and stages during northbound migration in East Asia.  The ranges of both subspecies overlap in the Yellow Sea.
Bar-tailed Godwits feeding Bar-tailed Godwits need plenty of invertebrate foods to “fuel” their exceptionally long flights.  In this image, godwits consume small clams and marine worms at a coastal site in Alaska. Photo by Jan van de Kam.
Weighing a Bar-tailed Godwit in New Zealand Between 2006 and 2010 we captured godwits in New Zealand (12 birds), Australia (13 birds), and Alaska (5 birds) and marked them with satellite transmitters to determine the routes and timing of their migrations. Photo by B. Stephenson.
Firth of Thames - photo by Lee Tibbitts, USGS Overview of Firth of Thames near the capture site of godwits on the North Island, New Zealand.
Birders look for shorebirds at Miranda near the capture site of godwits on the North Island, New Zealand Birders look for shorebirds at Miranda near the capture site of godwits on the North Island, New Zealand. Photo by K. Woodley.
Roebuck Bay, Australia - photo by Jan van de Kam

Overview of Roebuck Bay near the capture site of godwits in Western Australia. Photo by Jan van de Kam.

Flock of Bar-tailed Godwits in Roebuck Bay, Australia - photo by Jan van de Kam Godwits congregate in large flocks during the non-breeding season.  This image is of a flock of thousands at Roebuck Bay. Photo by Jan van de Kam.
Releasing a satellite-tagged godwit

Releasing a satellite-tagged godwit; birds recover quickly from tagging and fly away when released. Photo by J. Gilardi.

Bar-tailed Godwit E1 All birds were also marked with uniquely coded leg bands that allow us to identify individuals using binoculars or spotting scopes.  This bird is marked “E1” and is a female with an implanted transmitter; note the antenna that is faintly visible along her tail. Photo by Jan van de Kam.
Round-trip migrations of individual Bar-tailed Godwits. We found that godwits of both populations exhibit extreme flight performance, and baueri makes the longest (southbound) and second-longest (northbound) non-stop migratory flights documented for any bird.  As an example, this image shows round-trip migrations of individual bar-tailed godwits.  A baueri individual (orange track) was tracked for 29,280 km including three main migratory flights, of 10,270 km (in 7.0 d) between New Zealand and the Yellow Sea (China), 6,510 km (4.9 d) between the Yellow Sea and Alaska, and 11,690 km (8.1 d) between Alaska and New Zealand. A menzbieri (blue track) was tracked for 21,210 km, including four main migratory flights, of 5,620 km (4.2 d) between Australia and the Yellow Sea, 3,990 km (2.1 d) between the Yellow Sea and Siberia, 4,090 km (2.6 d) between Siberia and the Yellow Sea, and 6,270 km (5.3 d) between the Yellow Sea and Australia. Image from Battley et al. 2011, J. of Avian Biol. 43: 21-32.
Miranda Shorebird Centre Many groups and individuals throughout the East-Asia Australasian Flyway are very interested in godwit ecology and conservation.  Groups that were involved in this study included Point Reyes Conservation Science, USGS Alaska Science Center, University of Massey, Miranda Shorebird Centre, New Zealand Ornithological Society, Global Flyway Network, and the Broome Bird Observatory. Photo by K. Woodley.

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