Roost site fidelity of the Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris on the non-breeding grounds

Amanda Lilleyman, Danny I. Rogers, Gavin O’brien, Clive D.T. Minton, Stephen T. Garnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The connectivity and availability of suitable habitat is crucial for the survival of migratory shorebirds that travel between hemispheres every year. While these birds require several connected sites along the flyway during their migration, they also need suitable habitat at their non-breeding grounds to allow them to safely feed, roost and recover. Within non-breeding sites, it is critical to maintain and conserve a network of both feeding and roosting subsites, but identifying these key sites is challenging because habitat use and site fidelity can differ between species. Understanding site fidelity of shorebirds informs the protection of coastal environments and may mitigate coastal development. We used the presence of Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris, a globally endangered migratory shorebird that is endemic to the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, to indicate the local habitat quality, as this species is the most abundant shorebird in our study area in tropical northern Australia. We used engraved leg-flag resighting data from the non-breeding grounds to examine connectivity and roost site fidelity. We show that the species is highly site faithful to roost sites in the region, but will explore new feeding grounds within the region during the pre-migratory months. Management of Great Knots and other migratory shorebirds should operate at a local network scale to allow for the long-term preservation of biodiversity in the coastal region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-125
Number of pages7
JournalWader Study
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

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