Birds of Hanalei
Ruddy Turnstone / Arenaria interpres / ‘Akekeke
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‘Akekeke can commonly be seen in the mudflats or near the shoreline as well as in the fields at the refuge.
‘Akekeke eat a variety of items throughout the year using their ingenuity. During the winter, they get their insect and crustacean food from shorelines, mudflats, and fields, often turning over rocks, shells and marine debris to find the food beneath – hence their common name of turnstone. They use their bills as shovels to dig into the mud for crabs, clams, and mussels. They will often eat carrion and eggs of seabirds like curlews. However, during the breeding season they eat mostly flies!
‘Akekeke are territorial birds like most shorebirds. Males typically will defend the area in which they will mate with a female and brood their young. The courtship rituals between a male and a female include ground and aerial displays. These birds are monogamous and remain with the same mate for the entire breeding season. They will make a depression in the ground to form a nest; nearby vegetation is used to line the nest cup. Often, the nest is close to a stream, pond, or lake. They lay 3 to 4 olive green eggs that are incubated by both parents for 21-24 days. When all are hatched, the entire family moves to areas with food resources. The females are the first to leave and the males take care of the young until they fledge three weeks later.