Knot Calidris canutus   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Charadriiformes Family: Scolopacidae
BTO Codes: KN, KNOT. EURING No: 4960
Number in Britain: 320 thousand birds (Winter)
Conservation Status:
European: 3 Concern, most not in Europe; Declining
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Passage/Winter Visitor
Subspecies: canutus, islandica recorded in Britain (of 6 subsp. in the world)
Length: 24 cm Wingspan: 59 cm Weight: M/F: 140 g    
Scientific name from: Gr.: kalidris=grey waterside bird described by Aristotle and after Canute (995-1035), king of England
World Distribution: BREEDS: arctic North America, Greenland, n Siberia, WINTERS: Europe, s Asia south to s Africa & Australia, s South America
Habitat: Tundra, on migration coastal
Diet: Summer, insects and plant material, Winter Inter-tidal invertebrates, esp molluscs
TitBit: The Knot's name, recalling King Canute, stems from the fact that it is often found feeding on the tide edge, sometimes in large numbers - with flocks in excess of 100,000 birds appearing like drifts of smoke in the sky sometimes recorded, especially in cold winters.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos BTO ID Workshop

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: No population trend available
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore   
British Population Size:
    Winter: 320 thousand individuals in 2004/05 - 2008/09
    First Record: Recorded in Medieval times [Fossil evidence from Devensian (last) glaciation, 10-120,000 yr ago]
    Conservation Status: AMBER because Species of European Concern, Localised Non-breeding Population, Important Non-breeding Population
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern: , islandica AMBER (European Concern)
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries  and summary map from Time to Fly (in pop-up windows)
European Population Size:
    Summer: 15 to 30 thousand pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WBD(II*), Bern(III), Bonn(II), AEWA
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 43 x 30 mm Egg Weight: 19.3 g (of which 5 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 0
Clutch Size: 4 eggs
Incubation: 21- 22 days   by the: Male + Female
Fledging: 18 - 20days as: Precocial, downy
First Clutches Laid: Does not breed in Britain, or too few Nest Records
Number of Broods: 1
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.841 ± 0.066       
Juvenile Survival: No data
Age at First Breeding: 1 year Typical Lifespan: 7 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 27 years 3 months 29 days (set in 2006)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: C2
Wing Length Adult: 169.4 ± 6.2 Range 159 - 179 mm, N =3618
Juvenile: 164.7 ± 3.9 158 - 171 mm, N =1589
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data
Weight Adult: 138.1 ± 20.16 Range 120.0 - 158.0 g , N =3564
Juvenile: 131.2 ± 14.72 107.0 - 156.0 g , N =1540
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Red Knot
Gaelic: Luatharan-gainmhich Welsh: Pibydd yr Aber
Danish: Islandsk ryle Dutch: Kanoet
Finnish: Isosirri French: Bécasseau maubčche
German: Knutt Hungarian: Sarki partfutó
Icelandic: Rauđbrystingur Irish: Cnota
Italian: Piovanello maggiore Norwegian: Polarsnipe
Polish: Biegus rdzawy Portuguese: Seixoeira
Spanish: Correlimos gordo Swedish: Kustsnäppa
Local Names: Silver Plover

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Harrington, B. 1996 The flight of the red knot W.W. Norton, New york [598.612 HAR]
   Piersma, T. 1994 Close to the edge Uitgeverij Het Open Boek, Den Burg [598.612 PIE]
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides
All About Birds (from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology)