Calidris pugnax




Sandpipers, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Gray green or buff with brown spots.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

20 - 23

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with grasses.





Ruff: Large sandpiper with variably colored neck ruff, back and breast. Head is orange-brown; belly is white. Bill is orange with dark, drooped tip. Tail has faint wing stripe and oval white patches that are visible in flight. Female has brown head, dark scaled upperparts; dark bars on brown breast; white belly and undertail coverts. Winter adult has scaled gray upperparts, white belly; yellow legs. Juvenile resembles winter adult but has olive-brown wash over head, neck and breast; buff-fringed, dark brown upperparts and a rufous buff foreneck.

Range and Habitat

Ruff: Breeds in Eurasia; occasionally nests in northwestern Alaska. Winters mainly in Africa; rare but regular migrant to Hawaii, Alaska, and the east coast of North America. Breeds on lowland grassy wet meadows; winters on wet meadows, muddy fringes of pools and lakes, and brackish coastal lagoons.

Breeding and Nesting

Ruff: Four brown spotted, gray green or buff eggs are laid in a shallow ground depression lined with grass. Incubation ranges from 20 to 23 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Ruff: They forage in wet grassland and soft mud, probing or searching by sight for edible items. They primarily feed on insects, especially flies and beetles, as well as mollusks, worms, small fish and frogs. However they do consume some plant material, including rice and maize, and seeds form much of their diet during migration and in winter.


Ruff: Emits a low "tu-wit" when disturbed.

Similar Species

Ruff: Male is unmistakable; Pectoral Sandpiper is distinguished from female by cleaner breast demarcation and pale area behind eye.

Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
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.
The upper front part of a bird.
Also called the jugulum or throat patch, it is located on the front of the neck.
A fringe of feather growth on the neck of a male bird used in courtship displays.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X