Great Knot tagged in Yalujiang reaching UAE

Great Knot sighted in Mirfa-Eastern Shoreline, United Arab Emirates © Paul Kinnock


Breeding season is coming to the end, migratory waterbirds are already on their move. Earlier in spring during northward migration, one Great Knot with green flag over orange flag on the right leg, originally banded in Yalujiang, Liaoning, China on 26th August 2020, was sighted in Mirfa-Eastern Shoreline (24°04'19.6"N 53°34'05.5"E), United Arab Emirates on 2nd April 2021. Rare records of Great Knot winter or pass through to this western-most range of its migration range. This sighting contributes to the knowledge on migration routes of Great Knot, which was thought to be mostly restricted to the East Asian – Australasian Flyway.

Oscar Campbell, a UAE-based birdwatcher and chairman of the Emirates Bird Records Committee said “this record is another wonderful affirmation of the interconnectedness between the Eastern flyway and the Arabian Gulf and of the amazing routes and distances covered by migratory shorebirds in general. Great Knot winters in only small numbers here at the western limits of its non-breeding range and this is the second banding recovery we have had of this species here.”

According to Mr. Bai Qing Quan, banders in Yalujiang, Liaoning Province, China “Three first year Great Knots were banded with green over orange plain flag in Yalujiang, on 26th August 2020.” There was also one sighting of a first year Great Knot with this legflag combination recorded in Akshi Beach, Raigad District, Maharashtra, India on 8 November 2020. It was one of the entries of 2020 #LegflagChallenge Photo Contest. Mr. Bai said these were both astonishing records and thanked the observers for the sightings.

Great Knot sighted in India in November 2020 © Avinash Bhagat


Dr. Qing Zeng, EAAFP Science Officer expressed that, “ There are still a lot that we do not know about the migration of waterbirds. The sighting of a Great Knot which is thought to be restricted in the EAA Flyway found in United Arab Emirates in the Central Asia Flyway proves that information exchange between flyways is important. In addition, continuous studies using legflegs, tags and satellite tracking on migratory waterbirds is necessary, and we should promote to engage more bird watchers to report any resightings of tagged waterbirds.”

We at the EAAFP Secretariat are excited to have you join us on the #LegflagChallenge social media campaign in partnership with our friends at the Oriental Bird Club, the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force and BirdLife International! Look out for migratory waterbirds with any legflags, tags, bands, take photographs and share them with us!

  1. Post on Facebook the photo of birds with legflags and mark the date, locations (GPS) of the photo taken, species and tag information
  2. Hashtag #legflagchallenge
  3. Tag 3 friends to take on this challenge

We also strongly encourage you to repost your observation to this ”Shorebird leg-flag sightings in the EAAF”  Facebook Group:

For the Black-faced Spoonbill, share your sightings here:

Join the 2021 #LegflagChallenge social media campaign:

Learn more about 2020 #LegflagChallenge Photo Contest results:

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