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Ruddy Turnstone

The Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) is a stocky, smallish shorebird found all over the world, including on every island in Galápagos. Built roughly like a pigeon but a little bigger, the Ruddy Turnstone has a white breast with a blackish-brown “collar” which extends back to the mottled brown wings, speckled with black and white. It has reddish-orange feet and legs. Its medium-sized beak is black and pointed. In mating season, the ruddy turnstone changes colors: the black and white of the breast and collar sharpen, and the brown wing feathers become brighter. The legs and feet turn from orange to dazzling red.


Ruddy Turnstones are common sights around Galápagos. They have a hugely varied diet, including small fish, crustaceans, carrion, insects, garbage, other birds’ eggs and even occasionally coconut. They prefer rocky shores and tidal pools where they dart quickly about, searching for morsels. They get their name from their tendency to flip over stones with their beaks to see if there isn’t something delicious hiding underneath. They nest in a shallow, scraped-out hole in the ground. Shy by Galápagos standards, it is difficult to get within twenty feet (seven meters) of them before they scurry away or fly off.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to The Galápagos Islands: Galápagos Ecotourism and Management, Bravo Clinid, Flightless Cormorant, Lava Lizard, Great Blue Heron, The Waved Albatross, Sharks in the Galápagos, Herons and Egrets in the Galapagos, Parrot Fish and Flamingo.

By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
30 Mar 2007

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