Year of the Knots 2017-2018

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Red Knots and Great Knots are small, stocky wading birds. They use large, muddy estuaries around the coast for feeding. The population of both species has been declining at a rate of 2-2.5 % per year in recent decades, primarily as a result of habitat loss at the stopover sites.

The East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) Secretariat is proposing the “Year of the Knots” to call for attention and urgent conservation actions to save these birds.

Year of the Knots logo © Janet Essley / EAAFP

Red Knot

Red Knot © Adrian Boyle

Two subspecies of Red Knot (piersmai and rogersi) migrate along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF) and both breed in Russia and spend the non-breeding period in Australia and New Zealand. They are highly dependent on the Chinese part of the Yellow Sea, staging there on both northbound and southbound migrations.

The species has been declining at a rate of 2% per year in recent decades. Nothing has changed significantly at the breeding and non-breeding grounds, while large scale changes (reclamation, pollution, and human disturbance) are present and increasing at the main staging area in the Yellow Sea.

Red Knot map
Migration of Red Knots


  • IUCN Red List category: Near Threatened
  • Food: mainly shellfish in non-breeding areas
  • Breeding plumage: mottled grey on top with a cinnamon face, throat and breast and light-coloured rear belly

More information:

Great Knot

Great Knot in breeding plumage © Robert Newlin

Between their alpine breeding grounds in Eastern Siberia and the main non-breeding grounds on the coasts of Australia, Great Knots Calidris tenuirostris migrate in long, non-stop flights along the EAAF using one or two staging areas on the way for refueling. The population decline is estimated at ca. 2-2.5 % per year in recent decades. Reclamation of tidal areas both in the Republic of Korea and China are considered the main reason for the decline.

Great Knot map
Migration of Great Knot


  • IUCN Red List category: Endangered
  • Almost the entire global population (98%) is restricted to the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.
  • Food: mainly shellfish in non-breeding areas and insects on breeding grounds
  • Breeding plumage: mottled greyish upperparts with some rufous feathering.

More information:

The Migration of Red Knots – Travelling Exhibition

A beautiful artwork of Red Knots will travel along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, starting the non-breeding site in New Zealand in March 2017, through the Republic of Korea in May, it will arrive at the breeding site in Russia in July, along with the migration of the Red Knots. Read more here.

2017 Knots Drawing Competition

Knots Drawing Competition (Submission till 31 August 2017)
Join the poster competition to celebrate the life of Knots to raise awareness about the Red Knot and Great Knot. Read more here.

2018 Knots Photo/drawing Competition

Join the photo/drawing competition to celebrate the life of Knots to raise awareness about the Red Knot and Great Knot. Read more here (Coming soon!).

Learn more about Knots:

(Video produced by The Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund)