Great Knot

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Common Name: Great Knot
Scientific Name: Calidris tenuirostris

Size: 9 ½ - 10 ½ inches (24-27 cm)

Habitat: Asia and Australia; this species is a long-distance migrant that largely travels along the coast making few stopovers but utilizing different routes in the autumn and the spring. It breeds from late-May to late-June, departing the breeding grounds in July and arriving on the wintering grounds between August and October. The return migration to the breeding grounds takes place from March to April although juvenile non-breeders often remain in the tropical parts of the wintering range for the breeding season. The species forages in large flocks of one hundred to several thousand at favored sites on passage, but during the winter it typically forages in small groups. The species breeds on gravelly areas covered with lichen and patches of herbs, heather, Empetrum spp., Dryas spp. and Vaccinium spp., or alternatively on areas with a continuous layer of lichen and scattered stunted larch Larix spp. or dwarf pine Pinus pumila. It occurs on plateaus or gentle slopes with montane tundra in the subarctic at heights of 300-1,600 m. Non-breeding In its wintering range the species occurs in sheltered coastal habitats such as inlets, bays, harbors, estuaries and lagoons with large intertidal mud and sandflats, oceanic sandy beaches with nearby mudflats, sandy spits and islets, muddy shorelines with mangroves and occasionally exposed reefs or rock platforms. It roosts in refuges such as shallow water in sheltered sites, on coastal dunes or on saltflats amongst mangroves during high tides. On passage the species stages in estuaries and on intertidal mudflats.

Status: Least Concern. Global population: 380,000 - 390,000. While this species is not officially “threatened” there are threats… In the Chinese, North Korean and South Korean regions of the Yellow Sea (a major stopover area) the species is threatened by the degradation and loss of wetland habitats through environmental pollution (e.g. oil contamination of intertidal mudflats), reduced river flows and human disturbance (e.g. from off-road vehicles, tourists and hunters).

Great Knot are listed as threatened on the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988) and endangered on the 2007 advisory list of threatened vertebrate fauna in Victoria, in Australia.

Diet: Diet depends on the breeding cycle. Breeding adults diet consists predominantly of plant material such as berries (Empetrum nigrum) and pine kernels of dwarf pines (Pinus pumilla). Small chicks feed exclusively on insects and spiders. Non-breeding Knots during the winter and on passage the species takes bivalves up to 36 mm long from intertidal mudflats as well as gastropods, crustaceans (such as crabs and shrimps), annelid worms and echinoderms (such as sea cucumbers) These birds forage on mudflats and beaches, probing or picking up food by sight.

Nesting: Nests may be an open depression in moss, but very few nests have been found

Cool Facts: It is the largest of the calidrid species.

Found in Songbird ReMix Shorebirds Volume 3: Small Waders

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