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Red Knot Calidris canutus


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Red Knot, breeding plumage
credit: Gregory Breese/U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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Family: Scolopacidae, Sandpipers view all from this family

Description ADULT SUMMER Has orange-red on face, neck, and underparts; many back feathers have black and orange-red centers and gray fringes. Legs and bill are dark. ADULT WINTER Has uniform gray-brown upperparts and white underparts. Bill is dark and legs are dull yellowish green. JUVENILE Similar to winter adult, but back feathers have pale fringes and dark submarginal bands, creating a scaly look. Usually has buff tinge to plumage, particularly on breast.

Dimensions Length: 10.5 in (27 cm)

Habitat Locally fairly common. Breeds on high Arctic tundra. Migration is mainly coastal, but typically uses regular staging posts away from which only lone individuals are seen. Winters on sandy beaches and estuaries from southern U.S. states southward to South America.

Observation Tips Staging hotspots include Delaware Bay and Tampa Bay, Florida; the latter also hosts wintering birds. The National Audubon Society considers both to be Important Bird Areas.

Range Western Canada, Texas, Southeast, California, Plains, Rocky Mountains, Eastern Canada, Florida, Mid-Atlantic, Alaska, Great Lakes, Southwest, New England, Northwest

Voice Utters a sharp kwet call.

Discussion Dumpy and robust shorebird with short and stout legs and bill. In winter, forms large flocks, which fly in tight formation. Faint white wing stripe is visible in flight but otherwise lacks distinctive features in winter plumage. Sexes are similar.