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Ruddy Turnstone

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Ruddy Turnstones wear a calico coat during breeding season, distinctive both on the ground and in flight with their long, down-swept wings. They have orange legs and a short, pointed black bill. In the off season, their plumage returns to a drab brown and black.

Ruddy Turnstone
• Length: 9.5 inches
• Wingspan: 21 inches
• Season: Winter
More about Ruddy Turnstones.
Where they are, and when.

Ruddy Turnstones inhabit rocky shores and beaches. They get their name from the way they use their short, slightly upturned bills to turn over shells, pebbles, algae and other debris along the shoreline, looking for small crustaceans and insects. They’re very methodical, but they’re not picky eaters and will go for whatever the tide has washed up – from dead fish to garbage.

Their call is a low, guttural rattle.

They are winter shorebirds on the Gulf Coast – and much of Central and South America – and migrate far north to the rocky Arctic coasts and tundra to breed.


About Scott Clark

I’m a digital journalist who’s worked as a photographer, reporter, producer and editor. My interest in the natural history of my surroundings reaches back to my early days beachcombing on the Jersey coast, rowing my boat on a quiet lake in Missouri and, more recently, discovering the mountains and backwoods of Montana, where I was born.

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