Large-sized wader (about 38 cm or 15 in), good bearing and with a larger bill than the rest of waders. Different plumage, shorter legs and bill of smaller size and slightly curved with respect to the Black-Tailed Godwit. Males with dark upperparts; reddish breast, head and neck. Females with ocher orange plumage and white underparts. Elongated bill and completely dark in males and with an orange base in females; slightly upcurved. Winter plumage much more discreet in both sexes, with greyish and cleared tones in the belly. Long and dark legs. In flight the tail with a fine striping is observed.
Where it lives
Especially coastal species, preferably occupying beaches, estuaries, marshes and nearby areas.
How it lives
Species that appears on the coasts of the province only during its migratory passage. It breeds at the end of May in northern Europe, Lapland and Siberia. Nest on the ground. One annual laying of two to four eggs. The Bar-Tailed Godwit feeds on insects, worms, molluscs and crustaceans that it captures by exploring the mud with its bill deeper than other species of waders.
Where it can be seen in Malaga
It is a relatively frequent bird, less than the Black-Tailed Godwit, and that can be observed in the mouths of the Vélez and Guadalhorce rivers and in the Fuente de Piedra lagoon. The migratory passage of this bird can also be watched at Punta de Calaburras.
Its popular name in Spanish ("aguja", which stands for "needle") refers to the needle shape, elongated and thin, of its bill. Its tail has a striping or barring that is the cause of its name ("bar-tailed"). The species makes one of the most amazing migratory trips that are known. It flies almost 11,000 km (nearly 7,000 mi, almost as from Alaska to New Zealand) without stopping. A trip that lasts eight days and which is guided by the earth's magnetic field and by the position of the stars.