Ruddy Turnstone

1/800s at f9.0 ISO:800, Canon Mark IV 1D w/800mm x1.4 converter


The Ruddy Turnstone is a small wading bird. It is a highly migratory bird, breeding in northern parts of Eurasia and North America and flying south to winter on coastlines almost worldwide. It is the only species of turnstone in much of its range and is often known simply as Turnstone. It can survive in a wide range of habitats and climatic conditions from Arctic to tropical. The typical breeding habitat is open tundra with water nearby. Outside the breeding reason, it is found along coasts, particularly on rocky or stony shores. It is often found on man-made structures such as breakwaters and jetties. It may venture onto open grassy areas near the coast. Small numbers sometimes turn up on inland wetlands, especially during the spring and autumn migrations. Birds are often faithful to particular sites, returning there year after year. Ruddy Turnstones are fairly long-lived birds with a low annual mortality rate. They are able to breed when two years old. Their average lifespan is 9 years with 19 years and 2 months being the longest recorded. The Ruddy Turnstone has a varied diet including carrion, eggs and plant material but it feeds mainly on invertebrates. Insects are particularly important in the breeding season. At other times it also takes crustaceans, mollusks and worms. It often flips over stones and other objects to get at prey items hiding underneath. This behavior is the origin of the name "turnstone". It is a monogamous bird and pairs may remain together for more than one breeding season. The nest is a shallow scrape, often with a lining of leaves. It may be built amongst vegetation or on bare stony or rocky ground. Several pairs may nest close together. A single clutch of two to five eggs is laid with four being most common. Incubation begins when the first egg is laid and lasts for about 22 to 24 days. The female is mainly responsible for incubating the eggs but the male may help towards the end. The young birds are precisian and are able to leave the nest soon after hatching. They are able to feed themselves but are protected by the parents, particularly the male. They fledge after 19 to 21 days.
Cambridge Bay, Canada
 
07/03/2011