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Red Knot - Calidris canutus



 Kingdom: Animalia
 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Charadriiformes
 Family: Scolopacidae
 Genus:   Calidris 
ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least ConcernNear Threatened


Red KnotThe red knot is a medium-sized shorebird. During breeding season, it has a rust colored face, chest, and undersides and dark brown wings. It has a long, sharp bill and long legs.

Red Knot In winter, it has a gray head, chest, and upperparts and a white belly. It has long greenish legs and a pointed black bill. Males and females look similar.


mapThe red knot breeds on islands in northern Canada and Alaska. It winters along both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts from California and Massachusetts south to South America. The red knot is also found in Europe and Asia. The Rufa Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa), found in the eastern U.S. suffered a major population decline in the 2000s and is now a threatened species in the U.S.


Red KnotThe red knot breeds on the tundra. During migration and in the winter, it can be found on tidal flats, rocky shores, and beaches.



Red KnotOn its breeding grounds, the red knot eats the seeds of sedges, horsetails, and grass shoots. It may also poke around in snow-free areas for invertebrates. It also eats beetles and cutworm larvae. In its winter range, it eats marine worms, grasshoppers, horseshoe crab eggs, and other invertebrates.

Life Cycle

Red KnotDuring courtship, the male red knot flies up into the air, starts singing, glides around a bit, and then lands with his wings pointed up. The female red knot lays four eggs in a depression in the ground. The nest is lined with lichen. Both parents incubate the eggs. In fact, the male may do most of the incubation. The chicks hatch in about three weeks, and they fledge in another three weeks.


The red knot is a long-distance migrator. Red knots that migrate to South America can make a round trip of close to 20,000 miles.

Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Fernando Jacobs cc logo