Ruddy Turnstone

Arenaria interpres




Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Olive to olive buff with brown and black marks.

Number of Eggs:

2 - 4

Incubation Days:

21 - 23

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with grasses and leaves.





Ruddy Turnstone: Medium-sized sandpiper with red-brown upperparts; white rump and underparts. Face and breast are black-marked. Bill is thin, short, dark and slightly upturned. Wings have a brown, black and white pattern visible in flight. Tail is white with black terminal band. Legs are orange. Sexes are similar. Female has more streaking on crown; brown nape and slightly duller upperparts; breast patch has some pale flecking. Winter adult and juvenile are similar but duller. Juvenile is browner above with buff fringes and paler head.

Range and Habitat

Ruddy Turnstone: This species breeds on the coastal tundra habitats of northwestern Alaska, on the islands of Canadian Arctic, and northern coastal Greenland. Spends winters on coasts from Connecticut and Oregon southward to the Gulf Coast and also coastal areas of the West Indies; also found in Eurasia.

Breeding and Nesting

Ruddy Turnstone: Two to four olive to olive buff eggs marked with brown and black are laid in a ground hollow lined with bits of grass and dead leaves, often built under a low bush. Incubation ranges from 21 to 23 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Ruddy Turnstone: They mainly feed on insects, particularly midges, and some plant material in the summer. They also eat mollusks, crustaceans and carrion in the winter. They probe and dig using their bill, overturning objects such as stones, mollusk shells and seaweed with rapid jerks of the head to reveal prey, which are then quickly jabbed or pecked and eaten.


Ruddy Turnstone: Emits a staccato "tuk-tuk-tuk-tuk" while feeding. Typicall call is a rattling "teuk-e-teuk-e-e."

Similar Species

Ruddy Turnstone: Black Turnstone is darker in winter plumage, has all-dark breast, duller legs, and lacks any trace of red-brown back feathers.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

The upper front part of a bird.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Terminal bandX
Refers to the contrasting stripe at the tip of the tail.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X