Ruddy Turnstone

Arenaria interpres
Ruddy turnstones have bright orange legs/Photo Courtesy of Dr. Madeline Kalbach

The Ruddy turnstone is relatively uncommon in the Refuge and on the ocean beach. It is generally seen in the company of other shorebirds on the beach during the spring and fall migrations. A Ruddy turnstone in breeding plumage is stout, and about the size of a child’s football.  It is black and chestnut colored on the back and has orange legs. This distinctive coloring makes it stand out from the other birds it forages with. Its slender bill is perfect for overturning debris as it searches for insects, plant material, and crustaceans. Its favorite insects are midges.

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Facts About Ruddy Turnstone

Appears to be front heavy

Walks with a jerky motion

Flips over pebbles, stones, shells and other debris at the water’s edge searching for food