Black-tailed Godwit -
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Scientific name : Limosa limosa
Family : Scolopacidae
L de 40 à 44 cm, E de 63 à 74 cm
The Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) is a species of bird waders fairly large without well-marked sexual dimorphism of the family Scolopacidae (bécassins). This is one of two species barges living in France. For the black-tailed godwit, the male is smaller and more colorful than the female, with a slightly shorter bill.
The beak is very long, more or less rose-tinted yellow at the base, brown gray at its end, very slightly curved upwards. Inter nuptial plumage, eyebrows, chin, chest and tummy turn white, head, neck and uniform pale gray sides, sometimes slightly out of brown. The top is darker gray. The tail is white at base, contrasting with the black of its terminal part, this whatever the season.
Singing: The black-tailed godwits are rather noisy and demonstrative during the period of breeding, producing Yes-kè ouikè ouikè powerful enough flying high in the sky. The rest of the year, barges remain almost silent, merely emit growls reminiscent of woodcock with various intonations, according to whether they want to express a query, a fear or satisfaction.
Habitat: The black-tailed godwit prefers saltwater to freshwater marshes. In France, it takes more readily on the sands and sea vessels during its passages but it also shows some preference for the bodies of brackish water such as the Camargue and some swamps of southeastern Europe.
Behaviors: From the end of August, they can be seen during their passages they perform in small groups accompanied by smaller waders. In early March, they are back in the opposite direction. Indeed, these early birds arrive on our shores, before they have put on their beautiful plumage. They are initially present in the Camargue and are quick to appear on the southwest coast and at the mouths of some rivers like the Loire and the Vilaine, but in early April their observation becomes much more rare because most have regained their northern habitats.
Flight: The legs exceeds the tail in flight.
Nesting: The black-tailed godwit nests most often in colonies, merely dig a depression she garnishes very briefly twigs. She lays 4 eggs fawn spotted two shadows. Hatching occurs after less than three weeks of incubation and chicks, with disproportionate legs, a little shaky at first, covered with brown fuzz on the back, white on the lower parts, with the usual spots, are able to fly one month after the release of the egg. For the duration of the incubation, the males continue to fly over the incubator, engaged in battles and aerial acrobatics accompanied by a rather soft and harmonious song to the way of lapwings. If a visitor, human or animal, with the exception of cattle that are considered friends, approaching the colony, all the birds provide collective defense, flying around and doing a concert to hear cries as varied as discordant.
Diet : The Black-tailed Godwit feeds by walking slowly, deeply probing and vertical damp soil or mud. It also happens to hunt for prey at the surface. She willingly feeds in shallow water and sometimes with water up to their bellies, which the then forced to fully immerse the head and neck.