- Colour: Tiny, plain grey-brown and whitish wader with black legs and straight, gently tapering black bill, slightly swollen at tip. Shadowy dark line from bill through eye separates small white area over bill and subtle whitish eyebrow from whitish throat. Upperparts are grey-brown. Underparts are whitish with grey-brown zone on sides of upperbreast.
- Size: 13 – 16 cm
- Call: A weak chit chit or quick high pitched trill
- Diet: They forage on intertidal, near-coastal and inland wetlands. In tidal environments, they usually feed for the entire period that mudflats are exposed, often feeding with other species. They forage with a rather hunched posture, picking constantly and rapidly at the muddy surface, then dashing to another spot. Red-necked Stints are omnivorous, taking seeds, insects, small vertebrates, plants in saltmarshes, molluscs, gastropods and crustaceans.
- Flight: Flocks frequently burst into flight, swift on long wings with the white under-surfaces flashing against the sea or sky.
- Breeding: The Red-necked Stint breeds in north-eastern Siberia and northern and western Alaska. It follows the East Asian-Australasian Flyway to spend the southern summer months in Australia.
What to Observe
To help establish first and last sightings for a season enter a record any time you see Red-necked Stints
ClimateWatch Science Advisor
Climate change may influence a change in the timing of migration movements by Red-necked Stints. It may also affect the timing of when they start to breed and the duration of their breeding activities.
The Red-necked Stint is very sensitive to sea level rise, as it can forage only on damp mud and in very shallow water, whereas other, larger waders can forage in slightly deeper water. The virtual disappearance of the species from the Swan River since the mid 2000s correlates with the loss of tidal flats and shallows at Alfred Cove, where extensive mudflats were formerly exposed at low tide and were used by thousands of stints.
Threats on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (the migration route to Australia) may affect migration. These include economic and social pressures such as wetland destruction and change, pollution and hunting.
When To Look
They arrive in Australia from late August to September and leave from early March to mid-April. Some first-year birds may remain in Australia.
Where To Look
In Australia, Red-necked Stints are found on the coast, in sheltered inlets, bays, lagoons, estuaries, intertidal mudflats and protected sandy or coralline shores. They may also be seen in saltworks, sewage farms, saltmarsh, shallow wetlands including lakes, swamps, riverbanks, waterholes, bore drains, dams, soaks and pools in saltflats, flooded paddocks or damp grasslands. They are often in dense flocks, feeding or roosting.
The map below displays the accumulated observations of these species as reported by ClimateWatch observers, together with the layer showing how the range of the species might change between now and 2085, with orange areas indicating where the species might disappear, and green areas where the species range might expand.
Morcombe M 2003. Field Guide to Australian Birds. Revised Edition Steve Parish Publishing, Brisbane.
Pizzey G & Knight F 1997. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.
The Little Stint, Calidris minuta is very similar in size, shape and plumage. However the Little Stint has longer legs, is dumpier and has a blunter rear end at rest. They also have a different call. The Little Stint is very rarely encountered in Australia.
The Broad-billed Sandpiper, Limicola falcinellus is larger and has a longer, differently shaped bill.
Did You Know?
During studies on waders, two juvenile Red-necked Stints aged only 44 and 50 days were found about 2000 km from their breeding grounds.