Ruddy Turnstone

Arenaria interpres

The Ruddy Turnstone is a migrant wading bird visiting South Africa during our summer months, arriving from their breeding grounds in the Northern Hemisphere (“our” birds mostly originate from central Siberia) about September and staying until April. Some birds, usually young ones, remain behind during our winter. While they prefer to forage along rocky or kelp-covered shores or beds of eelgrass growing on sandy or muddy flats exposed at low tide, they’re also occasionally recorded at inland freshwater bodies, especially while migrating. They feed on invertebrates uncovered by turning over rocks and debris washed out of the ocean, hence the name. Several birds may work together to shift heavier objects, such as dead fish. The Ruddy Turnstone is a gregarious bird, usually encountered in small flocks and often associating with other species of wading birds. Adults measure about 23cm in length and weigh around 100g.

With the exception of Antarctica the Ruddy Turnstone is found seasonally along parts of the coastline of every continent, and it is listed as being of least concern with an estimated mature population of up to 500,000 birds. In the austral summer they’re found along the entire South African coastline, being especially numerous at Langebaan Lagoon in the West Coast National Park.


9 thoughts on “Ruddy Turnstone

  1. wetanddustyroads

    Ja, ons het hulle al baie by die meer in Langebaan gesien. Ek het nie geweet hulle vlieg weer weg gedurende die winter nie (dit voel my ek sien hulle elke maand van die jaar – toe ons nog permanent in Langebaan gebly het) … maar dalk is dit dan die jongeres wat ons sien wat agterbly. Pragtige foto’s!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. DeWetsWild Post author

      It’s not one we get to see often, Hien, so we were thrilled to see them in such numbers at the West Coast National park when we visited in December last year.



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