Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-64

Common name:

Bar-tailed Godwit

Scientific name: Limosa lapponica
Date: 08/11/2013
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Length of time observed: 2 hours
Number: 1
Age: Adult (non-breeding)
Sex: Unknown
Location: Willard Bay Northwest Playa
County: Box Elder
Latilong: Unknown
Elevation: Unknown
Distance to bird: 120 yards
Optical equipment: Swarovski ATS 65 HD Spotting Scope
Weather: Hot, sunny, clear, slight breeze
Light Conditions: Excellent--bright sun behind us
Description:        Size of bird: Medium wader
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Godwit
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Gray with white belly and undertail
(Description:)            Bill Type: Long and upturned
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Slightly smaller and shorter-billed than the large number of Marbled Godwits nearby. Also shorter legged than the Marbled, because the belly was just above the water it was standing in (almost touching), whereas the Marbled Godwits showed approx. 1-2 inches of leg between the water and the belly.

Bi-colored bill, orange near base and black at the tip, with slight upward curve.
Black eye.
Gray face with darker gray cap.
Darker gray eye line/stripe (same color as cap), starting at the base of the bill, through the eye and ending behind the eye.
Very noticeable supercillium, white or light gray, starting at the base of the bill, above the eye, and ending behind the eye.

Medium gray back and wings (same color as cap and eye line/stripe). We didn't see any mottling or pattern on the back, but the the wings had a faint slight pattern, which looked like the individual feathers had lighter edges. This pattern was mainly visible in the median coverts.
The tips of the wings were even darker gray (almost, if not black), and protruded noticeably past the tail when the wings were folded.
The wing linings were light gray, slightly darker gray toward the wing tips, with no brown or cinnamon coloring.

The throat and upper breast were the same gray color as the face.
White lower breast and belly, all the way back to the tail.

Clearly barred black and white tail.
Some black barring along the white flanks, most distinct very close to the tail.
Song or call & method of delivery: None heard.
Behavior: The bird was actively feeding and preening for about a third of the time we were observing it. The bird flipped its wings up once, briefly,so we could see the wing linings. The rest of the time, the bird had it's head tucked under it's wing and it would occasionally look around briefly, or preen for a few seconds before re-tucking its head beneath it's wing.
Habitat: Shallow water covering a mudflat.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Marbled Godwit is larger, longer-billed with a general brownish tinge overall and cinnamon wing linings.

Black-tailed Godwit has a bicolored tail, white at the base and black at the tip (not barred like the Bar-tailed), and white wing linings.

Hudsonian Godwit has black wing linings and no black and white barring on the tail. It's tail is similar to the black tailed.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Bar-tailed Godwit--Seen multiple times in Alaska, and Washington. Also seen a couple of times in Europe.

Marbled Godwit--Extremely familiar.

Black-tailed Godwit--Seen a couple of times in Europe.

Hudsonian Godwit--Seen several times in Utah, Texas and Alaska
References consulted: National Geographic, Sibley
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Kathy and Joel Beyer
Observer's address: Salt Lake City, UT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Mark Stackhouse, David Wheeler
Date prepared: 08/11/2013
Additional material: