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red knot

red knot (Calidris canutus) [Illinois and federally threatened]
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Features and Behaviors

The red knot is about 10 and one-half inches long (bill tip to tail tip in preserved specimens). It has a plump body shape. In spring, these birds have orange-red feathers on the ventral side and face, and the back feathers are a mix of black, rust-red and gray. The bill is short and straight. The legs are short and green-yellow. In fall, the feathers are mainly light gray, with some dark markings on the white, ventral feathers.

The red knot feeds by probing mud for aquatic invertebrates. This species nests in the Arctic and winters from the southern United States to southern South America. Spring migrants start arriving in Illinois in May. Fall migrants begin passing through Illinois in July. A subspecies of this bird, Calidris canutus rufa, is listed as threatened in Illinois and federally.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae

Illinois Status: state and federally threatened