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Black-tailed godwit

What am I?

I am a wading bird

Where do I come from?

I come to the Solent every winter from Iceland, which is around 1,300 km away, so I am known as an “Icelandic Black-tailed Godwit”.

A bit about me

I am quite easy to spot as I am a large wader and tend to stay in large flocks in winter. At low tide I like to feed in groups with other black-tailed godwits, you will see us stabbing our bills up and down in the wet mud like the needles on a sewing machine. I use my long bill to search for worms and shellfish hidden deep down in the mud, yum yum! The end of my bill is flexible to help me feel around for those tasty worms. At high tide we roost together in big groups, we particularly like saltmarsh and shingle islands as we feel safe and well away from any predators.

Local spotlight

We are fairly common around the Solent with our numbers in the thousands, making it an area of both international and national importance for us. We particularly like the New Forest coast and the muddy harbours of Porsmouth, Langstone and Chichester.

Conservation status

I’m red listed in the UK

I’m a qualifying feature for the Solent and Southampton Water and Portsmouth Harbour Special Protection Areas – that means, when the sites were designated, a nationally significant number of us used these awesome coastlines in the winter!

Fun fact

The origin of our name is unknown but one theory is that it comes from Old English meaning “Good to eat”. Gulp! In Iceland they call us “Jaðrakan”. We don’t mind what people call us (as long as they don’t eat us!).