Identification: Except in its impressive red summer plumage, the Knot is a rather non-descript bird, often identified when you realise it's not anything else. They are bigger and dumpier than Dunlins, with a relatively shorter and thicker drooping bill. Large flocks can be identified as they wheel and turn in dense clouds-one minute dark, the next flashing white. Single birds in flight are uniformly grey with a paler white wing bar and mottled grey rump.
Habitat: Winters on muddy and sandy estuaries.
Distribution: Common as a winter visitor and passage bird (mostly Autumn) to most coasts, although less common in south and south-west England. Typically found in huge swirling flocks on estuaries, with notable concentrations at sites such as Snettisham in the Wash. A rare bird inland.
Doesn't breed in Europe but winters in huge numbers in some of the estuaries of western Europe. Over 100 000 have been counted on the Wash (England) and the Waddensee (Holland/Germany)
Population: T250 000-300 000 birds winter in Britain, with 25 000-50 000 birds in Ireland.
Over two thirds of the world population occurs in Europe for part of the year. Outside Britain, important populations occur in France (17 500 birds) and Holland (19 700-63 700 birds).