Field Guide

Discover the diverse species of Oklahoma.

Rufa Red Knot

This migratory shorebird receives its name from the rusty color that dominates the head, neck, and belly during breeding season. This sandpiper is approximately 9-10 inches long and has a 23 inch wingspan.
Red knots prefer to forage on mudflats and use their bills to probe the substrate for mollusks, invertebrates, and seeds. Ideal foraging habitat for this species is limited within the state; Oklahoma is not a critical breeding or staging area for the species. Fewer than five birds are reported in Oklahoma annually. Of those, 85 percent have been reported during fall migration. Inexperienced or malnourished birds likely comprise the majority of sightings, however inclement weather events can also ground long-distance migrants like these birds for periods of time.
Life Cycle: 
This race breeds along the shores of the Arctic Tundra and overwinters in Chile.
9-10 inches in length. 23 inch wingspan.
Conservation Status: 
Habitat loss through urbanized development of coastlines has had severe impacts on coastal ecosystems, negatively affecting not only horseshoe crabs but also red knots that depend on this high-energy food source. Past commercial over-harvest of horseshoe crabs has also been cited as a direct cause of red knot population declines. Other factors such as shorebird hunting in the Caribbean and South America, pollution, and sea level rise have all impacted this species.
Federally Threatened