These birds are among the smallest of waders, very similar to the Little
Stint, Calidris/Erolia minuta, with which they
were once considered conspecific. The Red-necked Stint's small size,
fine dark bill, dark legs and quicker movements distinguish this species
from all waders except the other dark-legged stints. It can be
distinguished from the Western Sandpiper and the Semi palmated Sandpiper
in all plumages by its combination of a fine bill tip, unwebbed toes and
longer primary projection.
The breeding adult has an unstreaked orange breast, bordered with
dark markings below, and a white V on its back. In winter plumage
identification is difficult, although it is shorter legged and longer
winged than the Little Stint. Juveniles have more contrasting mantle
plumage and weaker white lines down the back than their relative. The
call is a hoarse "stit".
Distribution and habitat
Red-necked Stints are strongly migratory, breeding along the Arctic
littoral of eastern Eurasia and spending the non-breedng season in South
East Asia and Australasia as far south as Tasmania and New Zealand. They
are rare vagrants to western Europe. They are often seen in western
Alaska and occasionally elsewhere in the Americas.
Red-necked Stints are highly gregarious, and will form flocks with other
small Calidris waders, such as Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Curlew
Sandpipers in their non-breeding areas.
Their breeding habitat is tundra. They nest on the ground.
They forage in wet grassland and soft mud, mainly picking up food by
sight. In their non-breeding habitat they feed on inter tidal mudflats
and along the muddy margins of freshwater lakes. They mainly eat insects
and other small invertebrates.