Black Turnstone

Arenaria melanocephala
Black turnstones have a slender upturned bill that they use to turn over stones and shells in search of food/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

It is a small black wading bird the length of a TV remote control. It is plump and has a white eyebrow and white spot near its eye when in breeding plumage. It also has white spotting on the sides of its neck and breast. When at the Port of Nahcotta listen for the tinkling of stones or oyster shells. It is a sure sign that Black turnstones are close by searching for food.  The Black turnstone likes to sit on the decks of the fishing boats in the Port of Nahcotta. It also forages with other shorebirds on the ocean beach and the mudflats of the Refuge, but prefers rocky shorelines and oyster shell piles.  It eats insects, barnacles, crustaceans and mollusks.

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Facts About Black Turnstone

Turns over shells and stones when looking for food

Male is the main caregiver of the young

Sits on the belt that moves shucked oysters into a truck looking for food (in Nachotta)