Common Name
RUDDY TURNSTONE

Scientific Name
ARENARIA INTERPRES

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Photo by Robert T. Maytum
Photo Courtesy of Robert T. Maytum

The ruddy turnstone, Areneria interpres, is a rare transient shorebird in Utah, appearing occasionally during its migration between Arctic breeding grounds and more southern coastal wintering areas. Though the breeding plumage of this bird is bold and striking, birds passing through Utah are in comparatively dull winter plumage. This bird feeds mainly on aquatic invertebrates, but is known to also eat berries and the eggs of other birds.

Nests are built during the early summer months on open ground, typically on small islands near shore. The nest is usually a small depression that is sometimes lined with available plant material. Usually four eggs are laid, and incubation duties are shared by both sexes. Eggs hatch after 21 or 23 days. Young leave the nest within hours of hatching and are tended by both parents. When the young are able to fly after 24 to 26 days, the female leaves, but the male remains with the brood for an additional two weeks.

Sources:

  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder's handbook: a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Shuster, Inc., New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.

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