Action Plan

National single species Action Plan for the UK breeding population of Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa limosa 2023-2033

Layperson's Report: End of Project Summary

Recovering and securing the future of the globally Near Threatened Black-tailed Godwit in the UK

Practical summary of all project findings for a conservation audience

Project Godwit has advanced our understanding of the conservation needs and challenges of Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa limosa. This document is a summary of the published findings, outputs and other resources generated from the project so that the learnings can be used by others

Headstarting Manual

Dressi, N. & Costa, W. (2023) Best practice guideline for headstarting Black-tailed Godwits. The manual details the headstarting methodology for Project Godwit between 2017-2022.

Watch the Project Godwit headstarting video

Headstarting guidance

Headstarting key stages

The key stages common to all headstarting projects from establishing the conservation case to reporting.

Pre-project checklist

A checklist of issues that should be considered when making the decision to implement a headstarting project for waders.

Feasibility checklist

The key questions to consider before implementing a headstarting project for waders. Answering these questions should give an indication of the feasibility of the project (what are the chances of success?) and highlight the areas that are likely to be most problematic.

Cost-benefit assessment template

This document provides templates to assist with assessing the benefits and costs (risks and negative impacts) of a proposed headstarting project.

Education materials

Classroom Pack (KS1 & KS2)

We have created a classroom pack of materials based on the Key Stage 1 and 2 curriculum, including lessons plans, activities, worksheets, posters and ideas for wall displays. Download in full here or visit our Classroom Materials page for more information and to download individual files/activities.

Interpretation & signage

Project Godwit At-A-Glance

A poster summarising Project Godwit. Produced in June 2021, 1 page (A3).

Project Noticeboard

Project noticeboard installed at WWT Welney, Ouse Washes in March 2018, 1 page (A1, 594 x 841mm).

Godwit Models and Signage

Godwit models and signage installed at WWT Welney, Ouse Washes in March 2018. 7 pages (of photographs).

Conference Poster 2017

Conference poster for International Wader Study Group Conference, September 2017, 1 page (A1, 594 x 841mm).

Colour Ring Re-sighting Poster

Summer 2017, 1 page

Scientific papers

Diagnosing the recent population decline of Black-tailed Godwits in the United Kingdom

Abstract: During the last 50 years, the breeding population of Continental Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa limosa in the United Kingdom has been relatively small (below 60 pairs) and largely concentrated in two locations in eastern England. There were severe declines at the Ouse Washes during the 1990s due to increased spring flooding. In the following years, there were increases at the nearby Nene Washes. However...

Wader Study » Volume 128 » Issue 1

Ecology and conservation of breeding Black-tailed Godwits in the UK

Batey, C., Burgess, M., Donaldson, L., Lee, R. & Smart, J. (2023) British Wildlife 34(4), 235-245

The Black-tailed Godwit is a large, elegant wading bird that once commonly bred in eastern England but is now largely restricted to the Nene and Ouse Washes. In this article, the authors discuss the ecology of breeding Black-tailed Godwits in the UK and describe the conservation interventions that have been trialled to reduce predation pressures and boost populations.


Do ditch-side electric fences improve the breeding productivity of ground-nesting waders?

Verhoeven, M. A., Jelle Loonstra, A. H., Pringle, T., Kaspersma, W., Whiffin, M., McBride, A. D., Sjoerdsma, P., Roodhart, C., Burgess, M. D., Piersma, T. & Smart, J. (2022) Ecological Solutions and Evidence 3(2), 1-13


Great Bird Reserves – The Ouse Washes

Taylor, J. (2022) British Birds 115, 456-470

Created in the seventeenth century during the draining of the Fens, the Ouse Washes, Norfolk/Cambridgeshire, comprise a series of reserves managed by the RSPB, the WWT and the Wildlife Trusts of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire. The washes are famous for attracting spectacular aggregations of waterfowl in winter, most notably Bewick’s Cygnus columbianus and Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus. The area is also a national stronghold for lowland-wet-grassland breeding waders, such as Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago and the continental race of Black-tailed Godwit Limosa l. limosa. The diversity of breeding birds has increased dramatically over the past ten years, with the addition of Corn Crake Crex crex, Common Crane Grus grus, Great White Egret Ardea alba, Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris and Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus to an already long list. A series of hides and managed scrapes provide visitors with an opportunity to witness the spectacular congregation of birds that the Ouse Washes attract


Predator management for breeding waders: a review of current evidence and priority knowledge gaps

Laidlaw, R., Smart, J., Ewing, H., Franks, S., Belting, H., Donaldson, L., Hilton, G., Hiscock, N., Hoodless, A., Hughes, B., Jarrett, N., Kentie, R., Kleyheeg, E., Lee, R., Roodbergen, M., Scott, D., Short, M., Syroeschkovskiy, E., Teunissen, W., Ward, H., White, G. & Gill, J. (2021) Wader Study 128(1), 44-55


Annual reports

Project Godwit - Annual Summary 2020

Short report on project activities in 2020.

Project Godwit - Annual Summary 2019

Short report covering project activities in 2019.

Project Godwit - Annual Summary 2018

Short report covering project activities in 2018

Project Godwit - Annual Summary 2017

Short report on project activities in 2017.