• The new Outer Hebrides Bird Report 2018 is now available in the shop £12.50 including P&P

Possible Black-tailed Godwits?

Hi, just wondering if you can help?

I'm on Bernera, and struggling to get a firm identification on some wading birds I keep seeing on the moor (but close to the coast).

Unfortunately I've only ever seen them from a good 100 metres away or so, and never when I have the binoculars, but have seen them fairly regularly both this winter and last in the same place. At times I've seen them at night as I've driven down the road in the dark and they have flown up.

They are pretty uniformly grey (from a distance), I've not been able to judge the bill length or shape properly but it seems fairly long. They are rather upright in appearance, and seem around the body size (but not shape) of a rock dove so I guess 35cm ish. I've not heard any calls, not even when they've put up.

They have a very prominent and noticeable white bar in flight which has lead me to the black-tailed godwits idea, but I know that they're not that common so I'm doubting myself, especially as they seem to be here for a few months at a time and for both winters.

Any other ideas and suggestions as to what they might be? I will keep trying to find them when I have the binoculars and will try and get a picture if I can get close.

Last edited:


Always Birding
Hi Sam, black-tailed godwit would be a possability but they do not normally over winter here on the islands. It is not easy to make a definite ID from your description but if they indeed have a prominent white wing bar, Redshank would be another possiblity. A few photographs or a description from better views of the birds would be a great help.