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ruddy turnstone

ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
Photo © Brian Tang

Features and Behaviors

The ruddy turnstone has rust-colored feathers on the wings and back interspersed with black and white. The tail is white with a black band at the tip. Juveniles and nonbreeding adults have red-brown feathers on the back and are much duller than the breeding coloration. The legs are orange.

The ruddy turnstone is a common migrant along Lake Michigan and is occasionally seen migrating in other parts of the state. Spring migrants begin arriving in April and peak in late May. The species breeds in the Arctic tundra. Southbound migrants start arriving in July and peak in late August. They overwinter from the coastal United States to South America. The ruddy turnstone is seen at mudflats, beaches, rocky shores and the Lake Michigan shoreline. It feeds on small invertebrates.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae

Illinois Status: common, native