Pathways and staging areas of Red Knots Calidris canutus rogersi breeding in southern Chukotka, Far Eastern Russia


181 – 193

1 December 13

Pavel S. Tomkovich, Ronald R. Porter, Egor Y. Loktionov, Lawrence J. Niles

Pavel Tomkovich
Zoological Museum, M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Bolshaya Nikitskaya Str., 6, Moscow, 125009, Russia


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Based on ring recoveries and observations of colour-marked individuals, we identify the non-breeding range, migration routes and staging areas used by Red Knots Calidris canutus of the subspecies rogersi from its southernmost sub-arctic breeding population in Chukotka, NE Asia. We also present the first three geolocator tracks of individual rogersi adult males.

The non-breeding grounds of rogersi extend from New Zealand to NW Australia, with the majority going to the eastern part of this range (primarily New Zealand and E Australia). Three key staging areas for migrants are indicated by the geolocator data: (1) the NW Yellow Sea, (2) the western Sea of Okhotsk, north of the Amur River delta, and (3) the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. The Yellow Sea is extensively used during both north and south migration, whereas the other two sites are only used during south migration. The three birds with geolocators made round trips of 23,000–31,000 km. The two that went to New Zealand made direct flights of about 10,100 km from New Zealand to the NW Yellow Sea, the longest non-stop flight known for Red Knots to date. Mostly the flight paths taken by the three birds between stopovers were not further from the great circle route that the ca. 200 km margin of error associated with geolocator fixes. The only exception was that in most cases they appeared to fly south of the Kamchatka Peninsula when migrating between their breeding grounds and the Yellow Sea (four of five flight paths passed south around Kamchatka).