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A photo of a Long-toed Stint (Calidris subminuta)
Long-toed Stint

Long-toed Stint

Calidris subminuta

The Long-toed Stint, Calidris subminuta, is a diminutive wader, a member of the sandpiper family. It is characterized by its notably long toes, a feature that distinguishes it from its congeners. Adults in breeding plumage exhibit a rich brown back with darker feather centers, while their underparts are white. They have a light line above the eye and a brown crown. In the non-breeding season, their plumage transitions to a more subdued grey. Juveniles are more vividly patterned with rufous tones and white mantle stripes.

Identification Tips

This small wader, measuring 13 to 16 cm in length, can be recognized by its yellowish legs and short, thin, dark bill. The long toes, particularly the middle one, are a key identification feature. The primary feathers reach the tail's end, and the bird has a brown crown with a pale streak above the eye. The upper parts are brown with darker feather centers, and the underparts are white with a speckled breast. The legs and feet are yellow, and the beak is dark brown with a lighter base on the lower mandible.

Habitat

The Long-toed Stint is found in a variety of wetland habitats, including shallow freshwater or brackish areas, lakes, swamps, floodplains, marshes, lagoons, and muddy shores. During the breeding season, it prefers tundra, taiga, open grassy bogs, or swamps with mosses, sedges, and dwarf willows.

Distribution

Breeding across northern Asia, the Long-toed Stint is a highly migratory species, wintering in South and Southeast Asia and Australasia. It is an occasional visitor to New Guinea and Australia and a rare vagrant to western Europe.

Behaviour

This species forages on mudflats, often picking up food by sight and sometimes by probing. It feeds on a diet of small crustaceans, insects, snails, and occasionally seeds. The Long-toed Stint roosts in hollows in soft mud or in low vegetation near its feeding areas.

Song & Calls

The Long-toed Stint's flight call is distinctive and serves as an aid in identification, helping to distinguish it from other sandpipers.

Breeding

Little is known about the breeding habits of the Long-toed Stint, but it is known to nest on the ground. The male performs a display flight, which is part of its breeding behavior.

Similar Species

The Long-toed Stint can be confused with the Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis), but it is more finely built and slightly smaller. It also differs from the Least Sandpiper, its North American counterpart, by its more slender, longer-necked appearance, longer toes, somewhat brighter colors, and weaker wingbar.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Long-toed Stint mainly consists of small crustaceans, insects, and snails. It forages by sight on mudflats and sometimes probes for food.

Conservation Status

The IUCN has classified the Long-toed Stint as Least Concern. The species has a very wide range and an estimated global population of 10,000 to 100,000 individuals, with around 25,000 breeding pairs. The population trend is currently unknown, and no significant threats have been identified.

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Long-toed Stints on Birda

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