Recent northward expansion of breeding Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa in NW Russia


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7 December 15

Igor Popov, Dmitry Starikov


Igor Popov
St Petersburg State University, Faculty of Biology, Department for Applied Ecology. 16 linia V. O., 29 199178 St Petersburg, Russia.


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We examine changes in the distribution of the near-threatened Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa in NW Russia by reviewing Russian data sources covering the end of the 19th century to the present time. We also report the monitoring of nesting Black-tailed Godwits during 2006–2015 at a recently discovered breeding site, the mire of the Nizhnesvirsky Reserve close to the eastern shore of Lake Ladoga.

The review revealed that Black-tailed Godwits (assumed to be the subspecies limosa) now occur as breeding birds north of the range that is recognized in current literature, including data compiled by BirdLife International. We confirmed that a small but apparently stable breeding population occurs in the Nizhnesvirsky Reserve.

Our results indicate a northward range expansion, although we cannot exclude the possibility that breeding godwits were overlooked or not correctly described in earlier reports. Nevertheless it is clear that the northern boundary of the range of limosa Black-tailed Godwits needs to be reviewed. We suggest that, besides climate warming, anthropogenic environment changes are driving the northward expansion of this species in NW Russia.