Red knot

Latin Name
Calidris canutus




Male and female red knots have gray wings and white stomachs for most of the year. During breeding season, however, both sexes change color, adopting a red head, neck and chest to attract mates.



The red knot breeds near the North Pole, but winters worldwide.


The red knot's status is difficult to assess because the bird's population is high, but declining. The U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan lists the red knot as a “Species of High Concern.”


The red knot can mostly be found on sandy beaches and shallow wetlands.


The red knot has one of the longest migrations of any bird. Every year it travels more than 9,000 miles from the Arctic to the southern tip of South America.

Life History

The red knot builds it nests in a depression on the ground, cushioning its eggs with a layer of leaves and grasses. The female typically lays four eggs. Chicks leave the nest immediately after hatching, feeding themselves from the start.

Special Adaptations

Long, thin legs help the red knot to easily wade through the water.

ARKive Media

ARKive video - Red knot - overviewARKive image - First winter red knotARKive image - Red knot in winter plumage

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