An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

  1. 261 Photo by Colin Mulvogue
  2. 261_0 Photo by David Cook, Australian Wildlife Photography
  3. 261_1 Photo by Neon Tomas Buenaflor Rosell II
  4. 261_2 Photo by Marj Kibby
  5. 261_3 Photo by Marj Kibby
  6. 261_4 Photo by Marj Kibby

Red-necked Stint

Calidris ruficollis


  • 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

  • Calling
  • Feeding
  • Other

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.

Red-necked Stint compiled distribution map - BirdLife International

Red-necked Stint compiled distribution map - BirdLife International

Where To Look

Maps of Habitat Suitability


Current probability
of occurrence
2070 probability
of occurrence (RCP 8.5)
Species range change from
current to 2070 probability

Above, the left and middle maps show the modelled habitat suitability for the the species under current and potential future climate conditions. The colours indicate the predicted habitat suitability from low (white) to high (dark red).

The future habitat suitability is modelled for the year 2070 under a climate change scenario that represents 'business as usual' (RCP 8.5). The map on the right shows how the range of the species might change between now and 2070, with orange areas indicating where the species might disappear, green areas where the species range might expand, and blue areas where the habitat is predicted to be suitable for the species now and in the future.

The models for this species were run in the Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory. Please note that while models can be very informative, they are only a representation of the real world and thus should always be viewed with caution. You can read more about the science behind these models here.



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.

  1. Search Species

  1. What Else?

    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.

  1. 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.