Mobile bird identification
Bird Field Guide

In winter the Knot has a pale grey back with light edged feathers, a white underside, a pale stripe above the eye and short greenish to grey legs. The Knot is a large wader with a heavy round build, it has long wings in flight.


Calidris canutus
Waders Menu
On it's wintering grounds the Knot can form large flocks, sometimes numbering several thousand and, many birdwatcher's travel to see the spectacle of the flocks flying in synchronisation.
Order: Charadriiformes

Family: Scolopacidae

Genus:  Calidris

Species: C. canutus
In Summer the male and female Knot has a rich deep red underside, breast and head. The birds back is a mix of brown, grey and chestnut. The Knot is similar to the Curlew Sandpiper when in breeding plumage, however the Knot is a shorter less elegant bird, lacking the long legs and neck of the Curlew Sandpiper, as well as the curved bill.
Note the heavy build of the Knot. The back feathers edged with light grey are evident in this image. The light eye stripe, dark bill and short legs help to separate the Knot from other species.
Although seen at a distance the distinctive 'long winged' appearance of the Knot can help to confirm it's identity.
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Adult Male & Female (Winter)
Thanks to:
Adult Male & Female (Summer)
General distribution:
The Knot does not breed in Europe, it's principle nesting area is in Northern Greenland and Canada. It Winters in Western Europe crossing Iceland on route. Some birds winter in South America and others make it to South Africa. In the UK it winters around the entire coast in suitable habitats. It can sometimes be found inland when on passage.
Nests on Arctic tundra. In winter the Knot can be found in large numbers on muddy estuaries, although sometimes it can also be found on other types of coastline.
Knot in winter plumage.
Knot seen in the UK are usually either in winter plumage or like these birds in moult, with only patchy red on the underside.
A flock of Knot in summer plumage, note some of the birds are in moult and have varying amounts of red.
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Thanks to:
Knot in winter plumage
Flock of Knot in winter plumage
Knot in summer plumage identification

Upperparts are chestnut, dark-brown and grey

Legs and bill variable in colour
*Deep Chestnut red underside and breast
Thanks to: (Modified)
*Chestnut-red head and eye stripe
Flock of Knot in summer plumage
Knot in moult
Thanks to: (Modified)
* Donates key ID points
*Short legs
Knot in winter plumage identification
Knot flying in winter plumage
*Straight shortish black bill
Light eye stripe
*Grey rump
*Pale grey back, larger feathers edged with lighter grey
White underside

Greenish to grey legs

*Short legs
* Donates key ID points
Breast lightly marked with grey