Black Turnstone

Arenaria melanocephala

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4

BLTU

Code 6

AREMEL

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Black Turnstone is a small wading bird native to the western coast of North America. Perhaps the most interesting fact about the Black Turnstone is that it only breeds in Alaska. It typically lives and nests near the coastline or slightly inland. There have been populations reported in Siberia, but no evidence of breeding has been found in that area. It mostly feeds on crustaceans and flying insects, and spends the winter months as far south as Mexico. Estimated populations total 95,000 worldwide, and 80,000 of these are located at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta of Alaska. Its conservation rating is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Black Turnstone: Medium sandpiper, scaled black upperparts, white spot between eye and bill, black breast with white speckles on sides, and white belly. Short, dark bill slightly upturned. Back, wings, and rump display a dramatic black-and-white pattern in flight. Swift flight on rapid wing beats.

 

Range and Habitat

Black Turnstone: This species breeds on western and southern coasts of Alaska. Spends winters along the coastal regions of North America, from southern Alaska south to Baja California and Sonora, Mexico. Breeding habit includes marshy coastal tundra; found on seaweed-covered rocky shores in fall and winter.

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Black Turnstone SONGS AND CALLS

Black Turnstone A2

Calls from a small flock.

Black Turnstone C1

Trilled "kerrrrrt" calls given in flight.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"skirrr"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Black Turnstone often show strong site and mate fidelity when breeding; nesting at the same exact site with the same mate year after year.
  • The female often leaves after two weeks, leaving the remaining parental care to the male.
  • A group of sandpipers has many collective nouns, including a "bind", "contradiction", "fling", "hill", and "time-step" of sandpipers.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
RumpX
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X