Thursday, December 27, 2012

Red Knot in winter, the Big Peep!

 Red Knots (Calidris canutus) are the largest of the "Peeps" (small, difficult to identify North American shorebirds).  A couple of inches larger the Sanderlings, they breed in the Arctic and are seen in great flocks in winter on the U.S. Atlantic coast. 

 The name Red Knot comes from their salmon colored belly in breeding plumage.  These photos, taken in Punta Gorda, Florida in late December show their nonbreeding appearance.

With an estimated population of over a million, several conservation groups have petitioned for their inclusion as "endangered."   They feed mainly on Horseshoe Crab eggs, and the Horseshoe Crab population in the Chesapeake and other Atlantic Bays has been greatly reduced by over harvesting and over development of shoreline.  Hopefully efforts to protect the Horseshoe Crab population and species adaptability will ensure a bright future for this interesting "Peep!"

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm. This bird looks to be a non-breeding Spotted Sandpiper.