Red Knot

Calidris canutus

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The sociable blackbird-sized red knot belongs to the sandpiper family of birds. It can be observed congregating in the north German Wadden Sea only in large colonies or large swarms. It undertakes an extremely long migration - of about 4,000 km - to its breeding grounds in the Arctic tundra or its winter habitats in western Europe and West Africa. In Germany, they can only be observed during a stopover or as winter visitors to the Wadden Sea, therefore the majority of watchers only know their basic plumage: an inconspicuous ashen grey and white. When in breeding plumage in contrast (as shown here by the specimen on display), the crown and underside are rufous while the upperparts appears mottled - black with reddish feather fringes. It has a compact figure with relatively short legs and a short, straight bill. The red knot is larger than the dunlin. When on the mud flats, it subsists on mussels and mud snails, which it swallows whole, whereas at the breeding site it also eats insects and often buds and leaves.

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