• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer
Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Red Knot

Calidris canutus ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: SCOLOPACIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The Red Knot is the largest of the "peeps" in North America, and one of the most colorful. It makes one of the longest yearly migrations of any bird, traveling 15,000 km (9,300 mi) from its Arctic breeding grounds to Tierra del Fuego in southern South America.

Be a Better Birder Tutorial 4
eBird, submit your observations

Appearance

Shorebirds
Shorebirds
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Large, bulky sandpiper.
  • Relatively short, straight bill tapering to tip.
  • Legs short and thick.
  • Head and breast reddish in breeding plumage, gray the rest of the year.

Female Description

In breeding plumage female has light-colored feathers amongst the belly feathers and less distinct eyeline. Sexes appear similar in winter. Female has slightly longer wings and bill.

Immature Description

Similar to adult winter plumage, but gray back feathers outlined in white and black, giving a scaly appearance.

Range Map Help

Red Knot Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • Juvenile

    Red Knot

    Juvenile
    • Large shorebird with straight black bill
    • White eyebrow
    • Pale scaly pattern on gray back
    • Gray barring on flanks, white belly
    • © Kevin T. Karlson
  • Adult breeding

    Red Knot

    Adult breeding
    • Rich, salmon-orange color on face and underside
    • Gray back with some orange and black speckling
    • Large-bodied with straight, black bill
    • © Jason Crotty, Pillar Point, California, May 2010
  • Breeding and nonbreeding adults

    Red Knot

    Breeding and nonbreeding adults
    • Adult molting into breeding plumage develops orange-red on face and underside
    • Nonbreeding adult white below with gray back and white eyebrow
    • Long wings with dark speckling at "wing-pit"
    • Straight black bills
    • © birdsandwater, Masonboro Island, North Carolina, May 2009
  • Adult breeding

    Red Knot

    Adult breeding
    • Heavy-bodied appearance
    • Rich salmon color on face and underside
    • Black and orange speckling on gray back
    • Black bill and legs
    • © Christopher L. Wood, Cape May County, New Jersey
  • Adult nonbreeding

    Red Knot

    Adult nonbreeding
    • Gray back and white belly
    • Dark barring on flanks
    • White eyebrow
    • Straight black bill
    • © Christopher L. Wood, Cape May County, New Jersey
  • Adult nonbreeding

    Red Knot

    Adult nonbreeding
    • Gray back and white belly
    • Dark barring on flanks
    • Black bill and legs
    • Heavy-bodied, stout appearance
    • © Christopher L. Wood, Cape May County, New Jersey
  • Breeding adults

    Red Knot

    Breeding adults
    • Long wings
    • Deep, red-orange on face and underside
    • Thin white stripe through middle of wing
    • Pale gray rump and tail speckled with black
    • © Christopher L. Wood, Cape May County, New Jersey

You Might Also Like

All About Birds blog, First-Ever World Shorebirds Day Highlights Need for Conservation, September 5, 2014.