Nature Canada

A Year in the Life of a Red Knot

Learn about the Red Knot species and check out our comic made to illustrate the struggles of being Rufus the Red Knot.

The Rufa Red Knot is a subspecies of arctic-breeding shorebird that breed in the central arctic of Canada. It has a long, thin beak for probing sand, silt and mud. Its long legs allow it to navigate the shallow waters of the tidal flats, beaches, rocky headlands and coastal wetlands where it gathers to find safety in numbers from predators. Long wings allow it to travel thousands of kilometres per day during its migratory period. Rufa Red Knots fly over 30,000 kilometers a year, traveling from the central arctic of Canada to the southern tip of Chile. They brood up to four eggs in June for about three weeks, after which the mother starts her migration soon after the eggs hatch, while the father continues to tend its young until they can fly. These unique and vital birds are officially endangered, with only one Red Knot currently living for every ten that were alive 50 years ago.

Working with our Cree partners, Nature Canada has created a comic book and video about the life of the Red Knot. Elder Luci Salt of Chisasibi, a village on the eastern shore of James Bay, is the narrator of the video and also the translator for the Northern Cree version of the comic.

A Challenging Life

Red Knots face many challenges when migrating, which have become only more numerous over the years due to humanity’s influence on the environment. Stop-over habitats are especially at risk of being destroyed by industrial and urban development projects that range from city expansion to resorts and to even shrimp farms.

Recreational human activities, as well as feral cats and dogs, can often scare away shorebirds from stop-over areas, leaving them unable to rest or feed appropriately on their journey south. These difficulties are further complicated by their migration season lining up with tropical storm season.

Image of Rufus the Red Knot

Download the Red Knot comic!

Submit your email below to download the Red Knot comic in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Cree (North and South), or Dutch.

If you enjoyed the red knot comic, check out the story of Bico, the Hudsonian Godwit!

Download Comic →


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