Little stint (Calidris minuta)

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The little stint (Calidris minuta) belongs to the family of sandpipers, snipes and stints, the Scolopacidae.

The little stint is distributed in Africa, Europe, Asia and Indian subcontinent. The stint species is fully migratory. This stint species is monotypic.

Key Facts Description
Pictures of Little Stint Distribution
Ecosystem & Habitat Conservation

Little stint - Description and identification

The little stint (Calidris minuta) is a small stint, measuring 10 to 15 cm in length and weighing 20 to 45 grams. The wingspan is 25 to 30 cm.

These stint species have brown upperparts with black, dark brown and white mottling. The head, neck and upper breast have brown striations. There is a brown lore. The underparts are white. The non-breeding birds are paler.

The bill is long, dark and black. The legs and feet are long and blackish. The irises are dark. There is a whitish eye-ring. The call is a loud high-pitched trilling sound.
Image of Little stint - Calidris minuta
1.Little stint - Calidris minuta
Image by Ken Billington

Image of Calidris minuta by Zeynel Cebeci
2.Little stint - Calidris minuta
Image by Zeynel Cebeci

Image of Calidris minuta
3.Little stint - Calidris minuta
Image by Davidvraju

Little stint - Geographical range and distribution

The breeding populations of the little stint species are distributed in Arctic Europe and Arctic Asia.

The wintering populations are distributed in southern Europe, Mediterranean region, Africa, Madagascar, Middle East, Indian subcontinent and coastal Myanmar.

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of the little stint in Russia are, Torna-Shoina watershed, Dvuob'ye, Lapland Biosphere Reserve, Lower Ob', Upper and Middle Yuribey, Lower Yuribey and Bolshaya Rogovaya river.

The IBA of these stint species in Norway are, Varanger Peninsula, Slettnes and Røst. The IBA in India are, Krishnarajasagar Reservoir, Kaliveli Tank and Yeduyanthittu estuary.

The IBA of these species in Kazakhstan are, Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve, Kushmurun Lake and Zhumay-Mayshukyr Lake System. The IBA in Pakistan are, Rann of Kutch Wildlife Sanctuary and Indus Dolphin Reserve and Kandhkot wetlands.

Ecosystem and habitat

The little stint species do not occur in forests. They normally occur in altitudes between 0 to 1000 meters. The artificial ecosystems include freshwater ponds, wastewater treatment ponds and irrigated agricultural fields.

The natural ecosystems and habitats of the stint species include Arctic tundra, Arctic coastlines, tundra wetlands, tundra grasslands, estuaries, mudflats, salt-marshes, freshwater lakes, rivers and streams.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of the little stint species consists mainly of invertebrates. Larval and adult flies, small beetles, larvae of mosquitoes, craneflies, annelids, ants, crustaceans, molluscs and plant matter are their primary food.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these little stint species is during June and July in most of their breeding range. Monogamous, polygynous and polyandrous behavior had been observed. Males and females may incubate separate clutches.

The breeding ecosystem includes low altitude Arctic tundra, Arctic grassy islands and icy tundra. The nest is a cup-like shallow depression on open elevated ground, which may be covered by vegetation.

The clutch may contain three to five off-white colored oval eggs with dark patches. The chicks hatch out after 20 to 25 days of incubation. The hatchlings are precocial, able to feed themselves almost immediately.

Migration and movement patterns

The little stint species are fully migratory birds. They breed in Arctic Europe and Arctic Asia. They migrate southwards during July to September and arrive at the wintering grounds in late September and October.

These stint species winter in Africa, west coast of Europe, Indian subcontinent, Arabian peninsula, Mediterranean region and coastal Myanmar.

The return migration to the Arctic breeding grounds occurs in early summer, from mid-May to early-June (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The immature birds stay back and spend the summer in the wintering grounds.

Little stint - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Calidris minuta
  • Species author: (Leisler, 1812)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Tringa minuta Leisler, 1812
  • Family: Scolopacidae › Charadriiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Little stint, Chinese: 小滨鹬, French: Bécasseau minute, German: Zwergstrandläufer, Spanish: Correlimos menudo, Russian: Кулик-воробей, Japanese: ヨーロッパトウネン
  • Other names: Little Stint
  • Distribution: Africa, Asia, Europe
  • Diet and feeding habits: invertebrates, insects, larval insects
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Little stint - Conservation and survival

The global population size of the little stint (Calidris minuta) is estimated to number about 1,500,000 to 1,600,000 individual birds (Wetlands International 2015). The overall population trend of the species is considered to be increasing.

In most of its range, this stint species is reported to be common to fairly common. The generation length is 6.8 years. Its distribution size is about 4,750,000

Ecosystem degradation, ecosystem conversion, adverse weather, climate change, hunting for food and sport hunting are the main threats that may endanger the survival of the stint species.

IUCN and CITES status

The little stint (Calidris minuta) species does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable either under the range size criterion or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the species and has listed it as of "Least Concern (LC)".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the little stint (Calidris minuta).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Calidris minuta
Species:C. minuta
Binomial name:Calidris minuta
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The little stint (Calidris minuta) was earlier included in the genus Erolia.
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1.Image source: (cropped)
Image author: Ken Billington | License: CC BY-SA 3.0 as on 1/14/19
2.Image source: (cropped)
Image author: Zeynel | License: CC BY-SA 4.0 as on 1/14/19
3.Image source: (cropped)
Image author: | License: CC BY-SA 4.0 as on 1/14/19
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