Each year, Red Knots migrate over 9,000 miles during their migration from South America to their breeding grounds in the Arctic Circle. Along the way, they stop at beaches of the East Coast to feed on horseshoe crab eggs to fuel their remaining journey. Legislation protecting horseshoe crabs has probably contributed to the good number of Red Knots found this year. The population of the American subspecies of the Red Knot has been in steep decline; hopefully this year's bounty is a good sign towards recovery! The Red Knot is one of our 378 cute Birdorable birds. We have commemorated the special relationship between the knots and horseshoe crabs with two unique designs. Check them out: Crab-Knot Cycle and Horseshoe Crabs are Life. The small blue blobs making shapes in each design represent horseshoe crab eggs!
Here are ten facts about the Eurasian Curlew:
- The Eurasian Curlew is the largest wading bird found in Europe;
- In Scotland it is known as the "Whaup";
- The birds can be found from central and southern Europe and Asia to parts of Africa;
- Curlews are migratory, but are present all year in the milder climate of the British Isles and the adjacent European coasts;
- Within its range the Curlew is most similar to the Whimbrel, but the latter is smaller and has a shorter bill that is less smoothly curved;
- They eat mostly worms, crabs and invertebrates, which they find by touch using their long curved bill to probe soft mud;
- Its name is derived from its 'curloo-oo' call;
- The female is larger and has a longer bill than the male, but the different is not always distinct;
- A group of curlews is called a "curfew", "salon", or "skein" of curlews;
- The species is threatened due to loss and fragmentation of moorland and grassland habitats.
For 19 days we're adding a new Birdorable bird every day as part of our Birdorable Bonanza 2011. We're counting up to revealing our 350th species! Today's bird is the Red Knot.
Red Knot by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Northeast Region
Red Knots are widespread shorebirds known for their long-distance migration. They breed across tundra habitat in Canada, Europe and Russia; winters are spent along coastal Africa and South America, among others. Red Knots in the Americas are known to rely on horseshoe crab eggs as an important nutrition source during their northward migration. Excessive crab harvesting in recent decades has contributed to the rapid decline of the American Red Knot subspecies, which are currently considered endangered.
Tomorrow's bird is a small migratory bird that in summer has a yellow and black head with a bright orange throat. Can you guess what it will be?
In fact, scientists are in disagreement as to the classification of the five as separate species. Are they all subspecies of the Common Stilt? Or is each species independent of the other? For now, the Black-winged Stilt and the Black-necked Stilt will remain separated here at Birdorable.
Today's highlighted t-shirt design is our Birdorable Black-necked Stilt, shown here on an infant creeper. These shorebirds live in western and southern parts of the United States and parts of Central America and South America. Aren't they adorable?