Knot

Scientific name: Calidris canutus

Did you know: Knots, also known as Red Knots, perform one of the longest migrations of any bird, travelling over 9,000 miles from Arctic breeding grounds to the southern tip of South America each year!

What Do Knots Look Like? (how to identify them)

Knots are medium-sized, robust wading birds with a distinctive appearance. 

During summer, they boast a vibrant brick-red face, chest, and belly, while in winter, their plumage turns grey above and white below. Key identifiers include their pale rump and faint wing-stripe visible in flight, and their tendency to form large flocks in winter.

Differences Between Male And Female Knots

Males and females are similar in appearance, but the males are slightly larger. The breeding plumage of males is more vibrant, with deeper brick-red colouration compared to the females. Outside the breeding season, both sexes have similar grey and white plumage.

What Do Knots Eat?

Knots have a varied diet that changes with the seasons. During breeding in the Arctic, they primarily consume arthropods and larvae. In other seasons, their diet shifts to hard-shelled molluscs, which they find on mudflats and estuaries.

Where Do Knots Live? (inc. migration info)

Knots have a widespread range. They breed in the high Arctic regions of North America, Europe, and Russia, then migrate to coastal areas across the globe. The UK serves as a crucial wintering ground, with large numbers arriving from the Arctic.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Knots)

Knots produce a variety of sounds, including a low ‘knutt’ call in flocks and a ‘knuup-knuup’ cry during migration. Males perform a fluty ‘poor-me’ call in their display, accompanied by a high circling flight.

Fun Knot Facts (kid-friendly)

  • Knots can fly over 9,000 miles during migration – that’s like flying from London to Sydney!
  • They change colour: bright red in summer and grey in winter.
  • Knots can double their weight before migration to fuel their long journey.
  • They use special sensors in their bills to find food buried in the sand.
  • Knots are social birds, often seen in large, noisy flocks.

Knot Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Knot

Diet: Shellfish and worms.
Bird Family: Sandpipers, snipes and phalaropes
Length: 23-25cm
Wingspan: 47-54cm
Weight: 125-215g
Scientific Name: Calidris canutus

The Knot Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December