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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Little Stint - #400 on Life List


Little Stint, Calidris minuta
Image Source: Wikipedia

I was going over my life list this weekend in an effort to try and organize all my birding data. Although I have been birding since 1983, I didn't start keeping records until 2001. On record, I have observed 407 species of birds. Of these 249 have been observed in the U.S., 115 in Asia (Taiwan & Hong Kong), and 43 in the Arabian Peninsula (UAE & Oman).

On my recent trip to the Middle East, I passed the 400 species mark. Being that there are approximately 10,000 species of birds, it would seem that I still have a ways to go to catch-up with Phoebe Snetsinger.

The Little Stint was #400. I observed it at the Ras Al Khor Wildbird Sancturary in Dubai. There were several hundred individuals present, along with an assortment of other waders.

I referenced Wikipedia to get a little background on the bird. Here is an excerpt:

The Little Stint, Calidris minuta, is a very small wader. It breeds in arctic Europe and Asia, and is a long-distance migrant, wintering south to Africa and south Asia. It occasionally is a vagrant to North America and to Australia. It is gregarious in winter, sometimes forming large flocks with other Calidris waders, particularly Dunlin, on coastal mudflats or the edges of inland pools.

Its small size, fine dark bill, dark legs and quicker movements distinguish this species from all waders except the other dark-legged stints. It can be distinguished from these in all plumages by its combination of a fine bill tip, unwebbed toes and long primary projection. The call is a sharp "stit",

The breeding adult has an orange wash to the breast, a white throat and a strong white "v" on its back. In winter plumage identification is difficult. Juveniles have pale crown stripes and a pinkish breast.

This bird nests on a bare ground scrape laying 3-5 eggs. It is polygamous, and male and female may incubate separate clutches.

Food is small invertebrates picked off the mud.

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