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Alice Springs Waste Stabilisation Ponds

The Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa) is a gregarious medium-sized, long-legged wader/shorebird. When in breeding plumage they have an orange head, neck and chest, which becomes grey-brown, with black and white wingbar at other times. They have a long, slightly uptilted pink-based bill.

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer

The breeding range of the Black-tailed Godwit stretches from Iceland through Europe and areas of central Asia. Black-tailed godwits spend winter in areas as diverse as the Indian subcontinent, Australia, New Zealand, western Europe and west Africa. The species is more likely to be found inland wetlands, where there is sources of freshwater and as pictured here the inland sewerage ponds of Alice Springs.

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer

The black-tailed godwit was formally described by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1758 in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae under the binomial name Scolopax limosa. It is now placed with three other godwits in the genus Limosa that was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760. The name Limosa is from Latin and means “muddy”, from limus, “mud”.1

Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata
  • Informal: Gnathostomata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Scolopacidae
  • Subfamily: Numeniinae
  • Genus: Limosa
  • Species: Limosa limosa
  • Subspecies:
    • Limosa limosa bohaii
    • Limosa limosa islandica
    • Limosa limosa limosa
    • Limosa limosa melanuroides
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer

Footnote & References

  1. Limosa limosa (Linnaeus, 1758), Black-Tailed Godwit, Atlas of Living Australia, https://bie.ala.org.au/species/https://biodiversity.org.au/afd/taxa/70b173fb-a9cc-4b73-a9ee-598d1b5289a6
  2. Black-tailed Godwit, Limosa limosa, eBird, https://ebird.org/species/bktgod/MD

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