Population growth and economic development are the biggest threats to the habitat of Red-necked Stints. Their survival is affected by the destruction of their wetlands, pollution and hunting. The major stopover points along their migratory path, many of are populated by humans, need to be protected. Severe weather can also affect the birds: being blown off course can deplete their energy supplies, and they may then die of exhaustion.
Amazing Red-necked Stints
Red-necked Stints are very small migratory waders with short legs and a thick-set body.
Males and females have the same plumage, which changes between breeding and non-breeding seasons. Non-breeding plumage is generally mottled grey-brown and white. Just before migrating, the birds moult into their breeding plumage in which the feathers are a reddish brown along their neck and part of their back, giving them their name. Their bills, legs and feet are black.
These birds use their slender, sensitive bills to feel the vibrations of prey in the ground, and are often seen with a muddy bill. They forage in flocks of 10 up to thousands, jabbing and picking the ground in a rapid and constant motion. They feed on mudflats for as long as they are exposed and only venture into shallow water. They must gorge themselves on food to build up fat stores to fuel their annual migration.
Red-necked stints migrate along the East Asian–Australasian Flyway, flying north in March or April and returning south in August or September. They breed in the northern hemisphere in the tundra of Siberia and Alaska and spend the non-breeding season in the southern hemisphere. Their migration between the two places can be a journey of as much as 12 500 km, and they can fly more than 3200 km non-stop.