Black-tailed Godwit

Black-tailed Godwits are a casual vagrant to the Pribilofs, occurring on average one out of every four years. Virtually all Pribilof (and Alaskan) records are from spring, mainly the last week of May and first week of June. There are however two Pribilof records from late June. Black-tailed Godwits, or Blackwits in British vernacular are slightly larger than Bar-tailed Godwits (Barwits). Their bills are straighter and more obviously two toned than a Barwits bill. In addition they have more obvious dark barring across the breast, belly and flanks. If seen in flight the striking black tail and white rump will stand to make them obvious. Hudsonian Godwits (yet to be recorded in the Pribilofs, but perhaps overdue) have a similar tail and rump pattern to Blackwits but are smaller and lack the orange wash on the head and neck and white belly. In addition Hudsonians have black underwings. The underwing color of Blackwits is white, and of Barwits brown. Any flock of Barwits should be checked over for other Godwit species, but many of the past records of Blackwits have come from single birds, in the islands marshier lakes (Pumphouse, Tonki Point, the Dump Pond, Webster Lake, Antone Slough).