Living Bird Magazine
Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds.Try Merlin Bird ID
Red Knots are plump, neatly proportioned sandpipers that in summer sport brilliant terracotta-orange underparts and intricate gold, buff, rufous, and black upperparts. This cosmopolitan species occurs on all continents except Antarctica and migrates exceptionally long distances, from High Arctic nesting areas to wintering spots in southern South America, Africa, and Australia. Red Knots from eastern North America have declined sharply in recent decades owing in part to unsustainable harvest of horseshoe crab eggs, and they have become a flagship species for shorebird conservation in the twenty-first century.More ID Info
Look for Red Knots on sandy beaches and mudflats along the coasts during migration and winter (May and September are the best times in much of North America). Though their nonbreeding plumage is an indistinct gray and white, you can quickly learn to recognize the plump shape, medium-length bill, and relative size—larger than Sanderlings, smaller than Willets.