Red Knot

photo by Phil Swanson

Calidris canutus
L 10 1/2″(27 cm).

Song or calls:
Low-pitched “tu-whit,” and “knut.”

Description: Sexes similar. Chunky, short-legged sandpiper. Breeding adults are mottled gray-brown above; face, neck, breast and sides are reddish. Moderate sized bill, with bill being as long as the head. Winter plumage is pale gray above and white below. Juveniles similar to winter adults; also have buffy tinge on breast.

red knot
Habitat: Migrating birds can be found on mudflats and sand bars.

Where in Nebraska: Rare spring and fall migrant throughout state. Mostly absent in the west. Most sighting records are from Lancaster, Sarpy, and Douglas Counties.

Fun Facts:

  • Unlike many birds, Red Knots do not regurgitate any hard parts from their diet; rather they pass it through their feces.
  • Admiral Perry’s expedition to the North Pole in 1909 discovered the first nest of this species.
  • Common name comes from “knut” call.

juvenile Red Knot - photo by Phil Swanson Red Knot - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)