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A photo of a Little Stint (Calidris minuta)
Little Stint

Little Stint

Calidris minuta

The Little Stint, scientifically known as Calidris minuta, is a diminutive wader, a member of the family Scolopacidae. It is recognized by its small stature, fine dark bill, and dark legs, which set it apart from other waders, save for its close relatives, the dark-legged stints. This species exhibits a fine bill tip, unwebbed toes, and a notable long primary projection.

Identification Tips

In breeding plumage, the adult Little Stint can be identified by an orange hue on the breast, a stark white throat, and a pronounced white V on the back. Winter plumage makes identification more challenging, while juveniles can be spotted by their pale crown stripes and a faintly pinkish breast. The bird's call is a distinctive sharp "stit."

Habitat

The Little Stint is found in arctic regions during the breeding season, favoring open, bare ground for nesting.

Distribution

A true long-distance migrant, the Little Stint breeds in the arctic realms of Europe and Asia. When not breeding, it travels extensively to wintering grounds in Africa and south Asia. It has also been recorded as a vagrant in North America and Australia.

Behaviour

The Little Stint is known for its gregarious nature during the non-breeding season, often forming substantial flocks with other Calidris waders, particularly the Dunlin. These flocks are commonly seen on coastal mudflats or at the edges of inland pools.

Breeding

Polygamous by nature, the Little Stint lays 3-5 eggs in a scrape on the ground. Both males and females may incubate separate clutches, a unique aspect of their breeding behavior.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Little Stint consists of small invertebrates, which it picks off from the mud.

Conservation status

The Little Stint is currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, indicating that it is not at immediate risk of population decline. However, its numbers are influenced by the population dynamics of lemmings, which in turn affect predation rates by other Arctic species. The Little Stint is also protected under the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA).

Little Stint Sounds




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