Calidris canutus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Calidris canutus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Red Knot, Knot, Lesser Knot
French Bécasseau maubèche

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Algeria; Angola (Angola); Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Aruba; Australia; Austria; Bahamas; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belgium; Belize; Benin; Bermuda; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba; Brazil; Brunei Darussalam; Bulgaria; Cameroon; Canada; Cayman Islands; Chile; China; Colombia; Congo; Costa Rica; Côte d'Ivoire; Cuba; Curaçao; Czech Republic; Denmark; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Egypt; El Salvador; Equatorial Guinea; Estonia; Faroe Islands; Finland; France; French Guiana; Gabon; Gambia; Germany; Ghana; Greece; Greenland; Grenada; Guatemala; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Hong Kong; Hungary; Iceland; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Latvia; Liberia; Libya; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Malaysia; Martinique; Mauritania; Mexico; Montserrat; Morocco; Myanmar; Namibia; Netherlands; New Zealand; Nigeria; Norway; Pakistan; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Puerto Rico; Russian Federation; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Senegal; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Slovakia; South Africa; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Spain; Sri Lanka; Suriname; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Sweden; Switzerland; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Togo; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Turkey; Turks and Caicos Islands; Ukraine; United Kingdom; United States (Georgia - Vagrant); Uruguay; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Viet Nam; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.; Western Sahara
Albania; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Botswana; Cape Verde; Croatia; Cyprus; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); Fiji; French Southern Territories; Georgia; Gibraltar; Guadeloupe; Guam; Iraq; Jamaica; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Kuwait; Lebanon; Luxembourg; Mali; Malta; Mongolia; Montenegro; Mozambique; Nepal; Oman; Palau; Romania; Saudi Arabia; Serbia (Serbia); Slovenia; Somalia; Sudan; Timor-Leste; United Arab Emirates; Yemen; Zambia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population is estimated to number > c.1,100,000 individuals (Wetlands International, 2006), while national population estimates include: < c.10,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in China; < c.1,000 individuals on migration and < c.1,000 wintering individuals in Taiwan; < c.1,000 individuals on migration in Japan and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and > c.10,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).
For further information about this species, see 22693363_calidris_canutus.pdf.
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Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour This species is a full long-distance migrant that utilises few stopover sites or staging areas (del Hoyo et al. 1986). The species breeds from June to August (Hayman et al. 1986) in solitary pairs (del Hoyo et al. 1986), travelling in flocks on migration (Hayman et al. 1986) and remaining highly gregarious in winter often foraging in flocks of 300-10,000 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1986) at select feeding and roosting sites (Hayman et al. 1986). Habitat Breeding The species breeds in the high Arctic (del Hoyo et al. 1986) on dry upland tundra including weathered sandstone ridges, upland areas with scattered willows Salix spp., Dryas spp. and poppy, moist marshy slopes and flats in foothills, well-drained slopes hummocked with Dryas spp. (Johnsgard 1981) and upland glacial gravel close to streams or ponds (del Hoyo et al. 1986). Non-breeding Outside of the breeding season the species is strictly coastal, frequenting tidal mudflats or sandflats, sandy beaches of sheltered coasts, rocky shelves, bays, lagoons and harbours, occasionally also oceanic beaches and saltmarshes (del Hoyo et al. 1986). Diet Breeding During the breeding season the species's diet consists predominantly of insects (mainly adult and larval Diptera, Lepidoptera, Trichoptera, Coleoptera and bees) as well as spiders, small crustaceans, snails and worms (del Hoyo et al. 1986). When it first arrives on the breeding grounds however, the species is dependant upon vegetation (including the seeds of sedges, horsetails Equisetum spp. and grass shoots) owing to the initial lack of insect prey (Johnsgard 1981). Non-breeding Outside of the breeding season the species takes intertidal invertebrates such as bivalve and gastropod molluscs, crustaceans (del Hoyo et al. 1986) (e.g. horseshoe crab Limulus spp. eggs) (Karpanty et al. 2006), annelid worms and insects, rarely also taking fish and seeds (del Hoyo et al. 1986). Breeding site The nest is an open shallow depression (Flint et al. 1984) either positioned on hummocks surrounded by mud and water or on stony or gravelly ground (Johnsgard 1981) on open vegetated tundra or stone ridges (del Hoyo et al. 1986).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is vulnerable to extensive land reclamation projects that encroach upon staging areas in Western Europe (del Hoyo et al. 1986), and is threatened by the over-exploitation of shellfish (del Hoyo et al. 1986, Goldfeder and Blanco 2006) which leads directly and indirectly to reductions in prey availability (del Hoyo et al. 1986). The species also suffers from disturbance in the non-breeding season as a result of tourism (Goldfeder and Blanco 2006), foot-traffic on beaches (Burton et al. 2002), recreational activities and over-flying aircraft, which together reduce the size of available foraging areas (del Hoyo et al. 1986). It is also potentially threatened by industrial pollution and oil exploration (Argentina) (Goldfeder and Blanco 2006), and is susceptible to avian influenza so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the virus (Melville and Shortridge 2006). Utilisation The species is hunted illegally in New Zealand (del Hoyo et al. 1986).

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Calidris canutus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 05 September 2015.
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