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Conserving the Nature of America


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Red Knot with geolocator tag
  Red Knots on Tyndall Air Force Base
Photos by FWS


Red Knot



A little shorebird weighing less than a cup of coffee, the Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa) is truly a master of long-distance aviation. On wingspans of 20 inches, Red Knots fly more than 9,300 miles from south to north every spring and repeat the trip in reverse every autumn, making this bird one of the longest-distance migrants in the animal kingdom. About 9 inches long, Red Knots are among the largest of the small sandpipers.

Red Knot migration map

A Red Knot banded in May 1987 was seen on Delaware Bay in May 2000. During those 13 years, the bird had flown about 242,350 miles, a distance farther than from the earth to the moon!

The Red Knot continues to lose habitat in the U.S. to sea level rise, shoreline stabilization and development. These things also affect food resources, the timing of the bird’s annual cycle and breeding habitat in the Arctic.

Help is needed from beach residents, visitors and land managers to protect the Red Knot. As the Red Knot makes its journey through the U.S., it depends on safe beach habitat for resting and feeding without disturbance.

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Last updated: April 17, 2018