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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Knot

Hebrides bird sightings - Knot
Turnstone on the left with a Knot on the right


(Red Knot)

Calidris canutus

Gaelic: Luatharan Gainmhich


Photograph © Terry Fountain
Stinky Bay - Benbecula - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
22nd September, 2006


Our Knot Photographs

20th May 06
& turnstone
22nd Sept 06

4th Jan 08


  • Knot
  • Calidris canutus
  • Gaelic: Luatharan Gainmhich
  • UK: Passage/Winter Visitor
  • UK: AMBER LIST 284,000 birds (winter) BTO
  • Breeds: Arctic North America, North Europe, Canada, Greenland, Siberia (nests on ground, near water, usually inland)
  • Winters: Europe, Asia, South Africa, Australia, South America (Around UK coasts Aug - May. See large flocks at high tide roosts December - March)
  • Habitat: Arctic, tundra, on migration coastal, estuaries
  • Diet: Summer, insects, spiders (some plant matter). Winter mudflat insects, shellfish, worms
  • Wader. Dumpy, stocky, dark short legs. Medium thin dark bill. Winter grey above & white below. Summer mottled grey above, cinnamon chest, belly throat & face. Flight, shows pale rump & underwing & faint wing-stripe. Forms enormous flocks in winter
  • Listen to a Knot (RSPB site)
  • Average age: 7yrs, Max recorded age 24yrs
  • Similar birds: Dunlin, Sanderling


The canutus part of the knot's Latin name is said by some to refer to the bird's habit of feeding at the water's edge, others say the name refers to it's grunting call.

Knots can double their weight before migration.

There are six sub-species of knot, most of the UK wintering birds come from the Greenland breeding grounds, but some come from North America. In the late 1800's large numbers were shot for food during migration in North America.

These days the American sub-species is threatened by the harvesting of horseshoe crabs where about 80% of the birds stop to feed on crab eggs during spring migration. (Delaware Bay) It is thought the American subspecies might go extinct by 2010.


Knot records in the Western Isles

Fairly common passage (occurs in small numbers), and Uncommon in winter (recorded in low numbers each year)
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)

On the chart below the darker the shade of blue the more abundant the bird is during a month or the more likely you are to see it.

























(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)



Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

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