|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Black-tailed Godwits have a discontinuous breeding range stretching from Iceland to the far east of Russia. 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.|
In spring, Black-tailed Godwits feed largely in grasslands, moving to muddy estuaries after breeding and for winter. 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.
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. 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. Young birds from the European populations stay on in Africa after their first winter and return to Europe at two years old. Asian Black-tailed Godwits winter in Australia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.
They are much more likely to be found on inland wetlands than the coastal Bar-tailed Godwit. They migrate in flocks to western Europe, Africa, south Asia and Australia. Interestingly, 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.
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". 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. 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 metres around the nest is defended. The nest is a shallow scrape on the ground, usually in short vegetation. The eggs may be hidden with vegetation by the incubating parent.
The single brood of three to six eggs, coloured olive-green to dark brown, measure 55 x 37 mm and weigh 39 g each (of which 6% is shell). 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. The chicks fledge after 25–30 days.
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