A bar-tailed godwit on the mudflats may be on her way from the Arctic to sub-Saharan Africa. But she’s a lightweight compared to her New Zealand cousins

A long-billed, long-legged wader stands on the edge of the mud, waiting for the tide to recede so she can begin to feed. Nothing about her stands out: she isn’t strikingly pied like the avocets; she doesn’t have the curlew’s impossibly long, curved bill; and she isn’t flying around while yelling a frantic, urgent call like the redshanks.

Yet she has a far better story to tell than any of them. For she is a bar-tailed godwit: one of the greatest of all the bird world’s global travellers. She has already flown here to the river Parrett, that muddy river flowing into the Bristol Channel, from her breeding grounds far to the north – somewhere on the Arctic tundra in Scandinavia or Northern Russia.

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Source: Guardian Environment