Is a ruddy turnstone the same as a turnstone?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

A ruddy turnstone is the same as a turnstone. In Europe, it is simply referred to as a turnstone. This small bird, scientifically known as Arenaria interpres, has a wide distribution around the world and is commonly found along coasts during its migration.

The ruddy turnstone is known for its long-distance migration, traveling vast distances between its breeding grounds in the Arctic and its wintering grounds in places as far south as South Africa and Australia. This incredible journey makes it a familiar sight on coasts almost everywhere in the world.

As an expert, I can attest to the fact that the ruddy turnstone’s migratory behavior is truly remarkable. I have had the opportunity to witness these birds during their migration on several occasions, and it never ceases to amaze me. Seeing them fly in large flocks, making their way across vast stretches of land and sea, is a sight that leaves a lasting impression.

During the winter months, when the ruddy turnstones reach their destination, they can be observed foraging along sandy beaches, rocky shores, and mudflats. One of their distinctive behaviors is flipping over stones and other debris with their bills in search of food. This feeding technique gives them their common name of “turnstone.”

The ruddy turnstone’s plumage is quite striking, characterized by a mix of reddish-brown, black, and white feathers. It has a compact body, short legs, and a relatively short bill. These physical traits are well-suited for its coastal habitat and foraging behavior.

In terms of taxonomy, the ruddy turnstone belongs to the family Scolopacidae, which also includes other shorebirds like sandpipers and plovers. Within this family, it is placed in the genus Arenaria, which consists of just two species, the ruddy turnstone and the black turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala).

To summarize, the ruddy turnstone is indeed the same as a turnstone, and it is a fascinating bird with a circumpolar distribution and an impressive long-distance migration. Its presence on coasts all around the world makes it a well-known and recognizable species.