Red-necked Stint

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.

Calls include: 'prip' contact call and alarm 'chit'.
Facts and Figures
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June to July
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Basic Information
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What does it look like?

The Red-necked Stint is a very common and very small sandpiper. The legs are short and the bill is straight or slightly decurved, with a bulbous tip. In non-breeding plumage, the upper parts are brown and grey-brown, with most feathers pale-edged, giving a mottled effect. There is a pale eye-stripe. The rump and tail are black and the outer tail-feathers and sides of rump white. There is a pale wing-stripe in flight. The underparts are white with some grey on the sides of the breast. Eyes are dark brown; bill and legs black. In breeding plumage, the colouring changes, with deep salmon-pink on head and nape suffusing into pink on the mantle and wing-coverts. Immature birds are similar to non-breeding adults but browner and the crown is dull rufous. This species is also known as Rufous-necked Stint, Redneck or Little Sandpiper, Land Snipe, Little Stint, Eastern Little Stint, Least Sandpiper.

Similar species: 

The Red-necked Stint is very similar in size, shape and plumage to the Little Stint, C. minuta, which has longer legs, is dumpier and has a blunter rear end at rest. The calls also differ. It is smaller than the Broad-billed Sandpiper, Limicola falcinellus, which has a longer, differently shaped bill.

Where does it live?

The Red-necked Stint breeds in north-eastern Siberia and northern and western Alaska. It follows the the East Asian-Australasian Flyway to spend the southern summer months in Australia. It is found widely in Australia, except in the arid inland.


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.

Seasonal movements: 

The Red-necked Stint is a migratory wader, breeding in Siberia and west Alaska and then moving to non-breeding areas in South-East Asia and Australasia south of about 25° S. 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.

What does it do?

Red-necked Stints are omnivorous, taking seeds, insects, small vertebrates, plants in saltmarshes, molluscs, gastopods and crustaceans. They forage on intertidal and near-coastal wetlands. 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 breed in the Arctic regions, on moist moss-lichen tundra. The nest is a shallow depression lined with leaves or grass. Both parents share incubation and care of the young. Unsuccessful breeders leave for the south in June, breeding females from mid-July, males a little later and juveniles by mid to late August.

Living with us

Threats on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (the migration route to Australia) include economic and social pressures such as wetland destruction and change, pollution and hunting.

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