Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Red Knot (Calidris canutus)

Latin Etymology: Calidris (grey waterbird mentioned by Aristotle) canuta (named for legendary King Canute)
Flock of Winter plumage Red Knot (subspecies C. c. islandica) and Dunlin at Elmley Marshes, Kent - December 2012

Featured Subspecies: Calidris canutus islandica
Weight: 100-200g  /  Length: 80-100cm  /  Wingspan: 121-160cm
UK AMBER LIST / IUCN Red List: Near Threatened

 The name "knot" is derived from the legendary king Canute and his own inability to hold back the tide - pretty fitting for a shorebirds whose life is structured around their movements.  The knot is an exclusively coastal based wader (although, as with most birds, there are going to be occasional exceptions for vagrants) best known for the huge flocks it forms when roosting. It is primarily found in the mouths of major estuaries. The main downside to this bird is that it is present only in the Winter, and going near mudflats in Winter isn't exactly everyone's cup of tea. In its rather drab Winter colours it is not necessarily that easy to pick out amongst similarly drab dunlin, but it's main identifying feature is that it is the largest of the sandpiper-y waders, though not as the larger plovers like golden or grey.

Related Species:
Genus: Calidris
Subspecies: C. c. roselaari, C. c. rufa, C. c. canutus, C. c. islandica, C. c. rogersi, C. c. piersmai

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Locally abundant Winter migrant (320,000 birds)
 - A number seen at Elmley Marshes on Winter visits to the first hides.

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