Family Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes (Scolopacidae)

Least Concern

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)


French: Tournepierre à collier German: Steinwälzer Spanish: Vuelvepiedras común

Tringa Interpres


, 1758,

Gotland, Sweden


Populations in NE of range (Siberia E to W Alaska) sometimes separated as race oahuensis. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. i. interpres (Linnaeus, 1758) – Axel Heiberg I and Ellesmere I (N Canadian Arctic), Greenland, and N Eurasia to NW Alaska; winters on coasts of W Europe, Africa, S Asia, Australasia and Pacific islands, with some also on Pacific coast of America from California to at least Mexico.
  • A. i. morinella (Linnaeus, 1766) – NE Alaska and most of Arctic Canada; winters from South Carolina and Gulf of Mexico S to SC Chile and N Argentina.
  • Descriptive notes

    21–26 cm; 84–190 g; wingspan 50–57 cm. Robust shorebird with short legs; black-and-white head, throat, neck and breast; upperparts rufous-chestnut with... read more


    Limited repertoire; gives a short staccato rattle in contact year-round, likened to call of some... read more


    Stony coastal plains, marshy slopes and flats in lowlands, and tundra; always close to areas that... read more

    Food and feeding

    In breeding season, mainly Diptera (especially adult and larval midges), also Lepidoptera larvae, Hymenoptera, beetles and spiders; some... read more


    Lays mid May to early Jul, primarily mid Jun in Canada, and mid Jun to early Jul on Spitsbergen. Monogamous and solitary. On Taymyr... read more


    Migratory. Breeding range divisible into five populations: (1) birds of Axel Heiberg I, Ellesmere I... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Estimated numbers of wintering birds: 67,000 in Europe, including c. 50,000 in Britain, but excluding Iceland, S Norway and Ireland,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Van Gils, J., Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 February 2020).