Fun Godwits Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Godwits Facts For Kids

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The godwit is a terrestrial, migratory bird found mostly in the northern hemisphere. They are mostly known for their noticeable bills and unlikely migration patterns. Their habitat is generally known to be around the shallow mudflats of Alaska. The name godwit is derived due to their distinctive bills, as the word 'godwit' refers to a creature having an upturned bill. They mostly use these bills for hunting and fishing for the invertebrates near the water bodies during the migration period.

Even though these North American birds mostly live in isolation but fly towards the north, and breed by the shallow valleys. They look for a mate and produce three to six eggs in a single incubation period. These shorebirds are seen together as a family where the males create the nest on the grounds where the female lays their eggs.

If you find godwits interesting, check out Laysan duck facts and marbled godwit facts.

Fun Godwits Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Aquatic Invertebrates, Earthworms, Insects, Leeches, Small Fish

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

3-6 Eggs

How much do they weigh?

8.5-18 oz (240.9-510.2 g)

How long are they?

16–20 in (40.6–50.8 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Brown, Gray

Skin Type


What were their main threats?


What is their conservation status?

Black-Tailed Godwit: Near Threatened Marbled Godwit: Vulnerable

Where you'll find them?

Grasslands, Wetlands, Valleys, Prairies, Large Lakes


North Africa, Alaska, Canada, Australia









Godwit Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a godwit?

Godwits, like the marbled godwit, are birds. They both belong to the Sandpiper family.

What class of animal does a godwit belong to?

These two species are North American birds belonging to the Aves class of animal. These birds are shorebirds by nature found mostly near the aquatic bodies in the northern hemisphere.

How many godwits are there in the world?

According to International Union for Conservation of Nature, there is an estimated population of 171,500 marbled godwit birds living at the moment. The black-tailed godwit has a population of 614,000-809,000 birds.

Where does a godwit live?

The marbled godwit (Limosa fedoa) is found in the central plains of North America from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska during winter and in central Alberta through central Manitoba during the breeding period. The black-tailed godwit is seen in Europe, Africa, Australia, and in few parts of New Zealand.

What is a godwit's habitat?

Being shorebirds by nature, most of the species are found in moist places on most occasions. The long-billed marbled godwit is found in shallow wetlands, especially mudflats, prairies, beaches, and shores feeding mostly on aquatic creatures. The black-tailed are known to be living in swampy lands like a river valley, edges of large lakes along prairies, damp steppes, raised bogs, and moorlands.

Who do godwits live with?

Both black-tailed and marbled godwits are monogamous in nature and are seen to live in pairs. Mostly these pairs live in isolation during the incubating period but reunite with each other as soon as the breeding season gets over.

How long does a godwit live?

The marbled godwit is known to have a long life span. They live to 20-30 years on average. On the other hand, the black-tailed godwit has a comparatively shorter life span. They live up to 10-15 years on average. These birds live for much longer than the western bluebirds.

How do they reproduce?

Both the North American birds are monogamous in nature and pair up during their respective breeding seasons. The species have a vast breeding range for the breeding season. They mate once a year and breed in between May and August, where the female bird is attracted by the male bird by making flight patterns in the sky. The birds create their nest on the grounds near the water bodies. They produce four eggs in one incubation period, and in very rare cases, the number might vary between three to six. After this, the northern birds fly back towards the south during the oncoming of winter.

In the case of the black-tailed godwit, their breeding range is around the lake edges, meadows, and moorlands of Europe and Central Asia. Here the male bird calls for the female bird to mate by flight patterns. They are responsible for creating the nest on the grounds as well, which has to be approved by the female bird before the incubation period. These bird species mates once a year and produce three to six eggs in one breeding season.

What is their conservation status?

Considering the facts from International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the marbled godwits are in the category of Vulnerable, so there is an estimated population of 171,500 birds living at the moment. The black-tailed godwits being on the category of Near Threatened has a population of 614,000-809,000 individuals until the year 2016.

Godwit Fun Facts

What do godwits look like?

Godwit or shorebird are known as waders in Britain.

The godwits are tall aquatic long-billed birds and birds with an upturned bill. The marbled godwit is a brown-colored bird. They have long legs of blue and grey. Their wings are brown as well, and a darker shade of brown is observed in the belly and the chest. They have a distinctive upturned bill with varying colors of orange or pink. The black-tailed godwit is a tall shorebird with a brown-colored body. These godwits are long-billed with a mixture and orange and black, hence the name. The bird possesses a distinguishable orange head and distinctive patterns of black and white in its wings. Their chest and belly have a slightly lighter shade of orange on them.

How cute are they?

Needless to say, these aquatic birds possess sharp and distinctive physical features like having a long bill or an upturned bill. These features make them look very cute and attractive.

How do they communicate?

The marbled godwit and the black-tailed godwit have almost similar ways of communicating with their kinds. They make specific sounds or calls of 'ah-ha' or 'ahk' to communicate. The marbled godwits usually communicate by making nasal sounds.

How big is a godwit?

The godwits have an average size of 16–20 in (40.6–50.8 cm). Both the northern birds are pretty large and are almost 20% larger than a Hudsonian godwit. However, they are a bit smaller than chicken hawk species like the red-tailed hawk.

How fast can a godwit move?

The black-tailed godwit has an average wingspan of 28–32 in (71.1–81.2 cm). The marbled godwit has an average wingspan of 27.5-32.2 in (69.8–81.7 cm). This helps them to fly faster during migration. Also, this helps them in creating flight patterns when they call for their partners.

How much does a godwit weigh?

The marbled godwit and the black-tailed godwit have an average weight of 8.5-18 oz (240.9-510.2 g). The royal tern has a similar weight.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no sex-specific names assigned to the male and female members of the species.

What would you call a baby godwit?

A baby godwit is called a chick.

What do they eat?

These shorebirds are mainly carnivores in nature, feeding on aquatic invertebrates, earthworms, insects, leeches, and in winter, feeding on small fishes.

Are they dangerous?

They are mostly terrestrial birds, and apart from hunting aquatic fishes, there is no evidence of them being dangerous to humans or other birds.

Would they make a good pet?

Due to the varying habitats, they travel from south to north and vice versa for migration. As a result of this pattern, they are generally not kept as pets and found mostly in the swampy lakes and valleys.

Did you know...

Unlike other birds, these birds, along with their voice, use other modes of communication as well. They communicate through physical movements. These species are known to make a specific kind of noise along with wing movement when a newcomer enters their group or family in order to warn and alert others.

Their incubation period of godwits lasts up to 22-24 days on average.

Different types of godwit

The different types of godwits are marbled godwits, black-tailed godwits, Hudsonian godwit, and bar-tailed godwit (L. lapponica).

Why do godwits migrate?

The godwits migrate with the main purpose of finding a mate during the breeding season.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these limpkin facts and snipe facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable godwit coloring pages.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

<p>A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.</p>

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