Bar-tailed Godwit is an Amber listed Bird of Conservation Concern in the UK but of Least Concern on a European scale. The species is classified as near-threatened by BirdLife International and the IUCN.
Bar-tailed Godwit occurs as a passage and winter migrant with two subspecies recorded in the UK, lapponica and tamyrensis.
Bar-tailed godwits breed from northern Norway through northern Russia and beyond to Alaska. However, only the subspecies lapponica uses the tidal areas of the North Sea. On the Humber Estuary, Bar-tailed Godwits occur in large numbers in winter, and prefer the sandier tidal flats of the outer estuary. With a wintering population of 1,457 (latest five-year WeBS average), the Humber Estuary ranked as the 10th most important estuary in the UK. Similarly to Black-tailed Godwits, Bar-tailed Godwits are caught in saltmarsh pools (albeit in lower numbers). Contrary to Black-tailed Godwit, colour-ringed birds have produced fewer re-sightings on breeding grounds as the species breeds in remote High Arctic regions.