Ian’s Bird of the Week – Red-necked Stint ~ by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter – 04-01-09
This time of the year, almost anywhere in the world, is a good time to go looking for waders. Not only does the (northern) Spring migration mean that unusual species can turn up, but many of these migrants are acquiring their breeding plumages. So, if you’ve ever been faced with the daunting challenge of identifying waders in their drab winter plumage, you could be in for some pleasant surprises.
A case in point is the Red-necked Stint, a common non-breeding visitor to Australia, where the plumage is normally anything but red. The bird in the photo is in partial, or ‘pre-breeding’, plumage with the delicate
pinkish-chestnut face and breast and the black and chestnut wing coverts. A dapper little bird by any standards, I think.
‘Little’ is the operative word. Stints – there are 4 species – are the world’s smallest waders and the Red-necked Stint with a length of 13 – 16 cm/5 – 6.3″ is slightly smaller than a House Sparrow (14 – 16 cm). Size doesn’t stop it being one of the champions of migration, breeding in the Arctic tundra of Siberia and northern Alaska and spending the northern winter in Australasia and as far as south as sub-Antarctic islands.
At this time of the year, the birds are feeding madly, building up their fat reserves for the long trip. Apparently, they can lose half of their body weight during the migration.
The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed that the photo was taken at Boat Harbour during a brief visit to the Sydney region earlier this week. It’s tax time and I went to Boat Harbour after a meeting with my accountant in nearby Sutherland. To my friends in Sydney I extend an apology that I didn’t have time to catch up with them.
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: email@example.com
Storks, doves, swallows, and thrushes all know when it’s time to fly away for the winter and when to come back… (Jer 8:7)
This is one of the catch-up newsletters I am finally finding time to do. Will be releasing several more of these in the next little bit. Finally have some time to work on them. See Ian’s Bird of the Week list to see Ian’s articles. He will continue to do his current ones also.
The Stint mentioned was getting ready for spring migration, but of course this time of the year, they start preparing for their fall migration. I also went to Ian’s Birdway and found an extra photo. The Stint is in the Scolopacidae Family of Sandpipers and Snipes. The Scolopacidaes are in the Charadriiformes Order which has 19 families.