ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres) on Siargao island

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

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ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres) on Siargao island

The turnstone breeds in the high arctic and subarctic tundra but (understandably) heads south for the winter. We see it arriving on Siargao starting in September of each year.

 

ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres) on Siargao island
The Ruddy Turnstone’s bright orange legs are one helpful diagnostic feature.

 

ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres) on Siargao island

As might be inferred. the turnstone is named for its feeding habit of flipping over small stones with its stout bill in search of mollusks, sea snails, winkles, and periwinkles. The turnstone can also be observed digging, pecking and probing for its food.

 

ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres) on Siargao island

Turnstones are gregarious birds often seen in large flocks and can be observed cooperating to overturn larger objects in their quest for food. Groups of turnstones exhibit a strong dominance hierarchy. The low crouching stance is a display of aggression.

 

ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres) on Siargao island
The reddish-brown tortoiseshell plumage seen on this turnstone’s back accounts for the ‘ruddy’ in its name.

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