Population information

Order name Charadriiformes
Family name Scolopacidae
Scientific name Limosa limosa Common name Black-tailed Godwit
Population name islandica, Iceland/Western Europe
Breeding range Iceland, Faeroes, Shetland, Lofoten Is Non-breeding range Britain, Ireland, W France, Portugal, Spain, Morocco
Red List Category Near Threatened
Ramsar regions Africa Europe

Conservation Framework

Conservation framework Notes

Population size

Publication Start year End year Minimum Maximum Estimate quality Notes References Actions
WPE 1 1988 1988 65,000 65,000 No quality assessment [R599]
WPE 2 1988 1988 65,000 65,000 No quality assessment [R599]
WPE 3 1990 2000 35,000 35,000 No quality assessment [R611]
WPE 4 2004 2004 47,000 47,000 No quality assessment [R279]
WPE 5 2006 2006 50,000 75,000 Expert opinion [R911]
CSR 4 2004 2004 47,000 47,000 Expert opinion
CSR 5 2006 2006 50,000 75,000 Expert opinion [R911]
CSR 6 2003 2012 98,000 125,000 Census based [S8303] [R1362] [R1326] [R911]
CSR 7 2003 2012 98,000 134,000 Census based [S9017] [R1548] [R624] [R1549] [R911]

Population trends

Publication Start year End year Trend Trend quality Notes References Actions
WPE 1 1975 1985 INC No quality assessment [R599]
WPE 2 1975 1985 INC No quality assessment [R599]
WPE 3 1984 1997 INC No quality assessment [R611]
WPE 4 1984 1997 INC No quality assessment [R611]
WPE 5 1997 2007 INC Reasonable [T4809] [R888]
CSR 4 1988 1988 INC Reasonable
CSR 5 1997 2007 INC Reasonable [T584] [R888]
CSR 6 2003 2012 INC Reasonable [T6303] [R1381] [R1362] [R1361]
CSR 7 2006 2015 INC Reasonable [T7109] [R1548] [R1549]

Population 1% level

Publication Yearset 1 percent Note
WPE 1 1994 700
WPE 2 1997 700
WPE 3 2002 350
WPE 4 2006 470
WPE 5 2012 610
CSR 4 -1 -1 Not Set
CSR 5 -1 -1 Not Set
CSR 6 -1 -1 Not Set
CSR 7 2018 1100


  • R599 - Smit, C.J. and Piersma, T. 1989. Numbers, midwinter distribution, and migration of wader populations using the East Atlantic Flyway. In: Boyd, H. and Pirot, J.-Y. (eds). Flyways and Reserves Networks. IWRB Special Publication No. 9. 1989. Slimbridge, UK.
  • R611 - Stroud, D.A., Davidson, N.C., West, R., Scott, D.A., Haanstra, L., Thorup, O., Ganter, B. and Delany, S. (compilers) on behalf of the International Wader Study Group 2002. Status of migratory wader populations in Africa and Western Eurasia in the 1990s.
  • R279 - Gunnarsson, T.G., Gill, J.A., Potts, P.M., Atkinson, P.W., Croger, R.E., G?linaud, G., Gardarsson, A. and Sutherland, W.J. 2005. Estimating population size in Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa islandica by colour-marking. Bird Study 52: 153-158.
  • R911 - Gill, J.A., Langston, R.H.W., Alves, J.A., Atkinson, P.W., Bocher, P., Cidraes Vieira, N., Crockford, N.J., G?linaud, G., Groen, N., Gunnarsson, T.G., Hayhow, B., Hooijmeijer, J., Kentie, R., Kleijn, D., Louren?o, P.M., Masero, J.A., Meunier, F., Potts, P.M., Roodbergen, M., Schekkerman, H., Schr?der, J., Wymenga, E. and Piersma, T. 2007. Contrasting trends in two Black-tailed Godwit populations: a review of causes and recommendations. Wader Study Group Bull. 114: 43?50.
  • R888 - Wetlands International, 2012. Results of trend analysis undertaken for CSR5 2012, presented in Annex 4. http://www.unep-aewa.org/meetings/en/mop/mop5_docs/pdf/mop5_14_csr5.pdf
  • R1362 - European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity (in prep) Population and trend data provided by the EU Member States in the frame of their reporting under Article 12 of the EU Birds Directive. Online fact sheets. European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity, Paris. URL: http://bd.eionet.europa.eu/activities/Reporting/Article_12/Reports_2013/Member_State_Deliveries. Accessed on 31 July 2014.
  • R1326 - Musgrove, A. J., Austin, G. E., Hearn, R. D., Holt, C. A., Stroud, D. A., & Wotton, S. R. (2011). Overwinter population estimates of British waterbirds. British Birds, 104(7), 364.
  • R1381 - Nagy, S., Flink, S., Langendoen, T. (2014) Waterbird trends 1988-2012: Results of trend analyses of data from the International Waterbird Census in the African-Eurasian Flyway. Wetlands International, Ede.
  • R1361 - BirdLife International, BTO, EBCC, CSO, IUCN, RSPB, SOVON, Wetlands International (in prep) Population and trend data provided to the European Red List of Birds Project funded by the European Commission. Digital dataset. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK. Accessed on 31 July 2014.
  • R1548 - Wetlands International (2017) Flyway trend analyses based on data from the African-Eurasian Waterbird Census from the period of 1967-2015. Ede, The Netherlands: Wetlands International. URL: http://iwc.wetlands.org/index.php/aewatrends
  • R624 - Thorup, O. (comp) 2006. Breeding Waders in Europe 2000. International Wader Studies 14. International Wader Study Group, UK.
  • R1549 - BirdLife International 2015. European Red List of Birds. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. http://datazone.birdlife.org/info/euroredlist


  • T4809 - Wetlands International 2012. Trend 1992-2007: -2.4% p.a. ? Uncertain.
  • T584 - 898. Trend 1992-2007: -2.4% p.a. – Uncertain.
  • S8303 - Unadjusted IWC count totals ranged between 47,734 (2003) and 60,851 (2011) individuals for the above-mentioned three countries. The wintering numbers in PT and ES add up to an additional 35-74 thousands (European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity, in prep.). Therefore, the earlier population estimate of 50,000-75,000 (Gill et al., 2007) could be revised to 98,000-125,000. The wintering population estimates in the EU Birds Directive Art. 12 report add up to 116-167 thousands, but this includes 44,000 birds from the UK. However, the UK estimate has increased from 15,390 due to the inclusion of September and October counts as well (Musgrove et al., 2011) and this cannot be simply added to the counts from other countries.
  • T6303 - Trend is based on the IWC data from the UK, IE and FR only because of mixing with the western population of nominal race in Portugal and Morocco (Delany et al., 2009). This trend is consistent with the overall large increase calculated from the national wintering trend estimates (2000-2012: 1.0231-1.0243, 1980-2012: 1.0224-1.0225, European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity, in prep., BirdLife International et al., in prep.).
  • S9017 - Breeding numbers are estimated at 25,008-25,012 pairs by BirdLife International (2015). This is certainly an underestimation because the estimate for IS is still based on Thorup (2006), which should be considered to be outdated. IWC count totals were between 70,000 and 94,000 during the period of 2011-2015 without ES (Wetlands International 2017). This would be roughly consistent with projecting from the earlier estimate of 50,000 - 75,000 individuals of Gill et al. (2007) that would yield an estimate of 90,000 - 134,000 individuals assuming 6% annual growth rate for the last 10 years based on the IWC trend analyses (Wetlands International 2017).
  • T7109 - The population has increased both in the long- and the short-term based on both the wintering (Wetlands International 2017) and on the breeding (BirdLife International 2015) trend estimates.

Copyright Wetlands International 2012

Citation: Wetlands International (). "Waterbird Population Estimates" . Retrieved from wpe.wetlands.org on