Nature conservation

Threatened species

Bar-tailed Godwit (baueri) - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Limosa lapponica baueri
Conservation status in NSW: Not listed
Commonwealth status: Vulnerable
Profile last updated: 15 Jul 2020


A large long-necked wader (up to 39 cm) with a distinctive very long and upturned bill which is dark with a pinkish base. The head has a distinct brown eye-stripe bordered above by a white to off-white band extending past the eye. The crown and upper parts are pale brownish-grey narrowly streaked black and white. The under body is white with a pale brownish wash and fine dark streaks on the breast. In flight the upper wing is greyish-brown with dark brown and off-white streaks. In spring or autumn individuals may be in full or part breeding plumage where the head, neck and underparts are mostly rufous brown with black streaks on sides of breast and some wing and mantle feathers are strongly patterned rufous-brown and buff. Identified from the Black-tailed Godwit by the upturned bill, larger size, striped and scalloped neck and underparts and in flight the lack of conspicuous white wing bar and white rump stripe.


The Bar-tailed Godwit is a migratory wader which undertakes the largest non-stop flight of any bird. The trans-Pacific route from its breeding grounds in the Arctic to its non-breeding grounds in the southern hemisphere covers over 11,000 km. Birds arrive in New South Wales between August and  October and then leave between February and April, with a small number of individuals overwintering. The subspecies is most frequently recorded along major coastal river estuaries and sheltered embayments, particularly the Tweed, Richmond, Clarence, Macleay, Hastings, Hunter and Shoalhaven river estuaries, Port Stephens and Botany Bay. It is a rare visitor to wetlands away from the coast with scattered records as far west as along the Darling River and the Riverina.

Habitat and ecology

  • It is found mainly in coastal habitats such as large intertidal sandflats, banks, mudflats, estuaries, inlets, harbours, coastal lagoons and bays. Less frequently it occurs in salt lakes and brackish wetlands, sandy ocean beaches and rock platforms.
  • It often occurs around beds of seagrass, and sometimes in nearby saltmarsh or the outer margins of mangrove areas.
  • It forages at low to mid tide in shallow water or along the water's edge on sandy substrates on intertidal flats, banks and beaches or on soft mud substrates.
  • Its diet consists of worms, molluscs, crustaceans, insects and some plant material.
  • In NSW its high tide roost areas on sandy beaches, sandbars, spits and near-coastal saltmarsh are frequently shared with other shorebirds.
  • It is rarely found on inland wetlands or in areas of short grass such as farmland, paddocks and airstrips.
  • In large part, the observed decline in Bar-tailed Godwit (Western Alaskan) numbers across Australia stems from ongoing loss of intertidal mudflat habitat at key migration staging sites in the Yellow Sea.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
NSW North CoastCoffs Coast and Escarpment Predicted None
NSW North CoastKaruah Manning Predicted None
NSW North CoastMacleay Hastings Predicted None
NSW North CoastYuraygir Predicted None
OceanTweed-Moreton Known None
Other StateJervis Bay Territory Predicted None
South East CornerBateman Known None
South East CornerEast Gippsland Lowlands Predicted None
South East CornerSouth East Coastal Ranges Known None
South Eastern QueenslandBurringbar-Conondale Ranges Predicted None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandScenic Rim Predicted None
South Eastern QueenslandSunshine Coast-Gold Coast Lowlands Predicted None
Sydney BasinHunter Predicted None
Sydney BasinIllawarra Known None
Sydney BasinJervis Known None
Sydney BasinPittwater Predicted None
Sydney BasinSydney Cataract Known None
Sydney BasinWyong Predicted None