Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Bar-tailed Godwit - Limosa lapponica
SCOLOPACIDAE Members:
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General Comments This Eurasian shorebird has appeared along the East Coast much more often than the Black-tailed Godwit. Whereas the latter is usually confused with Hudsonian Godwits, Bar-tailed Godwits can be confused with the large Marbled Godwit and especially with Long-billed Dowitcher (as this godwit is "small" and has somewhat short legs). North Carolina has a surprising number of records, all coastal; neighboring South Carolina still lacks a record.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SZ
Global Rank G4
Coastal Plain Very rare visitor, with four spring and seven fall reports, all from the coast. The spring reports are: 1, Portsmouth Island, 8-9 May 1992* [Chat 57:58 link]; 2, Portsmouth Island, 23 Apr - 9 May 1993* [Chat 58:63 link]; 1 photographed at Frisco (Dare), 8 Apr 2016* [Chat 80:115-116 link]; and 1 photographed at the eastern end of Shackleford Banks (Carteret) on 23 Apr 2018 (likely a bird that overwintered there). Fall reports are all of singles at Pea Island on 22 Jul 1998 [Chat 63:39 link], 31 Aug - 1 Sep 1971, 21 Sep 1975, and 14 Oct 1974; one photographed at Portsmouth Island, 22 Sep - 10 Oct 1982* [Chat 47:71-72 link]; one photographed at the eastern end of Shackleford Banks (Carteret), 2 Oct - 15 Nov 2016* [Chat 81:13-14 link]; and undoubtedly the same bird returning to the last site from 24 Sep - 8 Oct 2017 [Chat 82:32 link]. Though there are no winter records, the above information leads one to assume that the fall 2017 bird was the same individual as seen there in Apr 2018. Though perhaps none of these reports is suspect, as most were reported by experienced birders, documentation of several have been sparse, and the NC BRC has reviewed/accepted only about five of these.
Piedmont No records.
Mountains No records.
Finding Tips
1/2 *
Attribution LeGrand[2018-11-08], LeGrand[2018-02-19], LeGrand[2018-02-01]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
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NA Maps
(source NatureServe)

View NatureServe distribution maps for Limosa lapponica