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A photo of a Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis)
Red-necked Stint

Red-necked Stint

Calidris ruficollis

The Red-necked Stint, Calidris ruficollis, is a diminutive migratory wader, a member of the family Scolopacidae. Its genus name, derived from the Ancient Greek, refers to grey-coloured waterside birds, while its specific name, ruficollis, combines the Latin words for "red" and "neck". This species is one of the smallest waders, with a fine dark bill, dark legs, and a body that is agile and quick in its movements. Adult birds measure between 13 to 17 centimeters in length, span 28 to 37 centimeters across the wings, and weigh between 21 to 51 grams.

Identification Tips

In breeding plumage, the Red-necked Stint can be recognized by its unstreaked orange breast, dark markings below, and a distinctive white V on its back. During the winter, identification becomes more challenging, though it is generally shorter-legged and longer-winged than the Little Stint. Juveniles exhibit a more contrasting mantle and less pronounced white lines down the back. The species can be differentiated from the Western Sandpiper and the Semipalmated Sandpiper by its fine bill tip, unwebbed toes, and longer primary projection. Its call is a distinctive hoarse "stit".

Habitat

The Red-necked Stint breeds on the tundra, favoring the Arctic littoral of eastern Eurasia.

Distribution

This species is a strong migrant, wintering in South East Asia and Australasia, reaching as far south as Tasmania and New Zealand. They are rare vagrants to western Europe, with most records from Ireland, and are occasionally observed in western Alaska and other parts of the Americas.

Behaviour

Red-necked Stints are highly sociable birds, often forming flocks with other small Calidris waders, such as Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Curlew Sandpipers, in their non-breeding areas.

Breeding

Their breeding season occurs from spring to summer, with nests constructed on the ground within the tundra habitat.

Diet and Feeding

These stints forage in wet grasslands and soft mud, primarily using sight to locate their food. Their diet consists mainly of insects and other small invertebrates. In non-breeding habitats, they feed on intertidal mudflats and along the muddy margins of freshwater lakes.

Conservation Status

The Red-necked Stint is currently classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List.

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