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Bird name:


Calidris canutus




Sandpipers (Scolopacidae)





Euring 5

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Breeding Location:

Arctic regions, Islands, Open ground

Breeding Type:


Egg Colour:

Smooth, glossy and pale green to olive with brown and grey specks, spots and streaks.

Number of Eggs:

3 - 4

Incubation Days:

21 - 22

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Material:

Scrape lined with lichen.

Nest Location:

Positioned on hummocks surrounded by mud and water or on stony or gravelly ground, on open vegetated tundra or stone ridges.




Knot: Stocky shorebird with rather short, black bill. Mostly orange-red with white near bill and on vent, and streaking on crown and back. Wings grey and black with white stripe and orange and black mottling. Pale-grey rump and grey tail. Dark grey legs and feet. Flight fast and direct. Sexes similar. Winter adults very different with sparse, black streaking on head, upperparts, and breast. White throat and eyebrow. Olive-yellow legs and feet. Juvenile like winter adult but creamy below and scaly pattern above.

Range and Habitat

Knot: Migrant and winter visitor to Ireland and the UK. After breeding in the Arctic, birds head south to Irish and British coastlines. Visible from autumn through spring, highest numbers can be seen in winter months. Prefer to inhabit estuaries and can often be found feeding at the tidal edge.

Breeding and Nesting

Knot: Complex male courtship display in air and on ground. Nest is a shallow scrape between rocks on tundra, often near a clump of vegetation. Both parents incubate eggs and care for young, but female departs for southern wintering grounds shortly after hatching, before chicks are independent.

Foraging and Feeding

Knot: Probes sand for insects and intertidal invertebrates. Also eats plants, fish. Has sensory organ in the tip of its bill that uses pressure differentials to detect buried prey without touching it. Cracks whole molluscs with its muscular gizzard.


Knot: Utters a soft "quer-wer"; also a soft "knut."

Similar Species

Knot: Dunlin is smaller, has darker legs, a white breast and throat, and more brown or rufous coloration of the upperparts. Sanderling also has darker legs. more white on the breast and throat in winter, and a shorter bill.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
Also called the supercilicum or superciliary it is the arch of feathers over each eye.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Birds do not have two separate cavities for excrement and reproduction like humans do. In birds, there is one single entrance/exit that suits both functions called the vent, cloaca or anus.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.


The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX