Common Name

Scientific Name



The red knot, Calidris canutus, is a rare migrant through Utah. During the summer months, this bird is found in extreme northern Canada. Following the breeding season, this bird migrates to South America, stopping along coasts and shorelines in North America to replenish energy reserves for long flights. Formerly, the red knot was believed to be the most common shorebird in North America, but populations were significantly reduced when vast numbers were killed during the late 1800s and early 1900s for food.

At the beginning of the breeding season, males advertise their presence to females with high flight displays, hovering 150 feet to 300 feet in the air. Nesting sites are on dry barren ground, often among bare stones. Nests are hollows lined with lichens. Usually four eggs are laid in June, July, or August, and incubated for 21 to 23 days. Though both sexes incubate the eggs, the male incubates for the majority of the time. After hatching, the young are tended mainly by the male, and usually move to more heavily vegetated areas. This shorebird feeds on invertebrates, and often forages in flocks, probing for invertebrates in soft mud and on beaches.


  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder's handbook: a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Shuster, Inc., New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.