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Knot walking in the water

What am I?

I am a small wading bird.

Where do I come from?

I breed in the high arctic and only come to the UK including the Solent for my winter holiday. I do not breed in the UK.

A bit about me

I am a medium sized stocky wader with quite short legs that are a grey-green colour. In winter my coat is grey and white which is a huge change from my brick red summer coat. My head is quite small compared to my body size. We form huge flocks in winter which wheel and turn in flight flashing our pale underwings as we twist and turn.  My favourite food is shellfish and worms.

Local spotlight

We like to gather in large numbers on muddy estuaries.

Conservation status

I’m amber listed in the UK

My name might not be listed in the Solent’s Special Protection Areas but I am still definitely important for the coastal ecosystem and form part of the non-breeding waterbird assemblages which these regions are protected for.

Fun fact

My bill has special sensory organs to probe the mud and sand to detect my prey in a similar way that bats use echolocation.