Monday, August 9, 2010

Black-tailed Godwit and other early arrivals

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa is a scarce winter visitor and passage migrant to Borneo, previous records were of mainly single bird. Sabah records were from Mumiang  in the east Coast and from Kota Belud in the west coast. No other record from Sabah has been mentioned in publications. If my memory  serves me right, I think there was a single bird in Sempulan, Kota Kinabalu one or two years ago, photographed by Sifu Jason and Sifu Karim. (Edit: My memory failed me, see comment from Sifu Jason.)

We went to Tinagat on 7th August 2010 to check on the waders and to my surprise I saw more than 10 Godwits feeding there at the tide-edge. I saw a Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica at the same place last season. (See here).

Photographs of the birds were taken without hesitation and on further checking with my field guides, they are confirmed to be Black-tailed Godwits.

It is quite easy to differentiate this from the similar looking Bar-tailed Godwit.  Here are some of the more obvious features;

- Black-tailed Godwit has straight bill, Bar-tailed has slightly upturned bill.

- Black-tailed Godwit has much longer legs, particularly longer tibia.

- Black-tailed Godwit has barred-flanks in breeding plumage, various traces of it can be seen in the fresh arrivals.

- In non breeding plumage (which we usually see them), Black-tailed Godwit has plain smooth breast and neck while Bar-tailed has streaky neck and breast.

Here are the pictures of the birds, my lifer. (#322 photographed wild birds of Borneo).


 Others birds are;
A pair of Little Tern Sterna albifrons
A pair of Juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
 Common Redshank Tringa totanus
 Little-ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
 Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel

Happy birding.

Photodocument of Wild Birds of Borneo 

Standard References for my blog


Jason Bugay Reyes a.k.a horukuru said...


I went to Lok Kawi beach yesterday and it was empty. I think in August, migrant birds arrived early on the East Coast than West Coast.

Last time it was the Bar-tailed Godwit digiscoped in Tg. Aru and I saw only once Black-tailed Godwit at Tuaran paddy field few years ago :)

Unknown said...

Nice! Hope to see the Black Tailed this season again at Kedah Coast..

nabghani said...

We got a Black-tailed Godwit and Asian Dowitcher here in Kuala Baram 09th August. The Godwit was still sporting summer colors. Both single birds ...

Wong Tsu Shi said...

Thanks Sifu Jason, will edit the main text body.

Naz, nice to hear you got Asian Dowitcher there, hope I can see one here.

Thanks guys.