Red-necked Stint or Sanderling

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yecats1978's picture
Red-necked Stint or Sanderling

I spotted this little bird on 10th October 2020 in the mudflats near Clinton, South Australia.  I wasn't sure what it was exactly so I uploaded it into my bird identifier app and it told me it was a Sanderling.  It also made another couple of possible suggestions and I wasn't sure so I had another go at identifying it with the app and it said this time that it was a Red-neck Stint (which I assume is probably more likely).  After doing a bit of reading online I am still unable to tell if this is a Sanderling or Red-necked Stint.  Is anyone else able to identify it by this pic?

Woko's picture

Thanks for raising this one, yecats. Not knowing a lot about waders I took the opportunity to dig into my bird field guide & check the illustrations. The Red-necked Stint & Sanderling are certainly similar (to me, anyway) but my best guess is a Sanderling because of the darker legs. I'm interested to learn what other Birds in Backyarders have to say. 

dwatsonbb's picture

I am thinking Red-necked Stint (non breeding), given the line through the eye to the bill and the rufous/brownish shoulder markings. Both appear to me to have dark legs and bills. Also the slight drop in the bill tip leads me that way. But like woko, am certainly not an experts, and happy to be corrected.

Am yet to see a Sanderling, but these look a lot like the Red-neck Stints I saw earlier this year.

And a very nice photo as well.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

yecats1978's picture

Woko and dwatsonbb:  I thank you both for taking to the time out to reply to my question.  I am also inclined to think that the bird I photographed is a Red-necked Stint (non-breeding), despite the fact that it does look very similar to a Sanderling when compared with some images I've seen online.  However, my opinion is based purely on the fact that they are commonly found in the area I was at and there were others around at the time I was there that I could easily identify as Stints.  But it is hard to tell for sure. 

sue818's picture

Best pointer for me is that a Sanderling does not have a hind toe but the Red-necked Stint does. This bird appears to have a hind toe (on my screen) which would gel with the comment above. I have seen both birds and they are quite difficult to differentiate so I always try to get a clear shot showing the leg. Hope that helps.

Alex Rogers
Alex Rogers's picture

A good pointer for differentiating them Sue, thanks. And yes, nice photo, yecats!

yecats1978's picture

Thanks Sue, very helpful to know.  I think that confirms my sighting as a Red-necked Stint.  :)
And thank you Alex for your kind words.

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