Thursday 29 October 2020

Dutch ‘national bird’ numbers decline sharply

GodwitThere has been a sharp drop in the Dutch population of black-tailed godwits, a migratory wader which is considered by many to be the national bird of the Netherlands.

This year’s breeding season was a disaster, producing just 4,600 young, according to bird protection group Vogelbescherming Nederland. At least 10,000 eggs need to hatch to preserve the population numbers.

In the 1960s, there were over 125,000 breeding pairs of godwits, known as gruttos in Dutch. There are now thought to be well below 40,000.

The godwit took 52% of the vote in a June poll in Trouw to determine which bird should become a national symbol. The godwit has featured in work by Vermeer and Rembrandt and as is ‘Dutch as they come’, the paper said.

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