A Red-necked Stint standing on the sand
Introducing our most commonly encountered migratory wader, the Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis).
 
Red-necked Stints are the smallest of the 37 migratory shorebirds to visit Australia. Although they weigh little more than a Tim Tam, their tiny wings carry them 25,000 kilometres between Australia and breeding grounds in Siberia and Alaska every year.
Black and white cartoon comparing the size of a Red-necked Stint to a Tim Tam biscuit
In the non-breeding season, their plumage is a smooth grey-brown on their wings and back. Their breast is slightly speckled with white underparts. When breeding season comes around, the plumage on their head, chest and belly turns brick red.
A Red-necked Stint feeding in the mud
Non-breeding plumage - October to March
A Red-necked Stint in reddish breeding plumage standing in shallow water
Breeding plumage - April to September
Cartoon world map showing distribution of the Red-necked Stint
During migration, they land at ‘staging sites’ with other waders to rest and refuel, sometimes travelling more than 5000 kilometres between stops.
 
In Australia, Red-necked stints are most often seen in large mixed flocks in coastal areas. Their short, black legs and bill are adapted for picking up molluscs, crustaceans and insects on the surface of sandy beaches and mudflats.
Red-necked Stint nest with four eggs in the grass.
A Red-necked Stint nest with four eggs.
A male Red-necked Stint tending to three chicks
A male Red-necked Stint tending to three 1-2 day old chicks.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

Near Threatened

Australian EPBC Act

Secure

Similar Species

Image credits:
Cathy Cavallo
Author
Cathy recently completed her PhD in Ecology and is a communicator with a passion for natural history, connecting people with nature and photography. When she isn’t running operations and social media for Remember The Wild, you’ll find her in the bush or underwater.

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