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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 12:01 EDT

Great Knot, Calidris tenuirostris

The Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris) is a small sized wader, although, it is the largest of the calidrid species.

Their breeding habitat is tundra in the northeast parts of Siberia. They nest on the ground, laying about four eggs in a ground scrape. They are strongly migratory, wintering on the coasts in southern Asia through to Australia. This species forms extremely large flocks during the winter. It’s a rare vagrant to western Europe.

This bird has short dark legs and a medium-length, thin, dark bill. The breeding adults have spotted grayish colored upperparts with some reddish-brown feathering. The face, throat and breast are heavily mottled with black, and there are also some streaks on the rear belly. During the winter, the plumage becomes consistently pale grey above.

The Great Knot is closely related to the more largely dispersed Red Knot. In breeding plumage, the Red Knot has a distinctive red face, breast and throat. In other plumages, the Great Knot can be recognized by its larger size, deeper chest, longer bill, and the more streaked upperparts.

These birds hunt for food on beaches and mudflats, probing or picking up food utilizing their sight. They mostly eat insects and molluscs.

The Great Knot is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies to.

Great Knots aren’t listed as threatened on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

In the state of Victoria, Australia, the Great Knot is listed as threatened on the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988). Under this Act, an Action Statement for the recovery and future management of the species has not been prepared. On the 2007 advisory list of threatened vertebrate fauna in the state of Victoria, this species is classified as endangered.

Image Caption: Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris), Laem Phak Bia, Ban Laem, Phetchaburi, Thailand. Credit: JJ Harrison/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris