name = Turnstones

image_width = 205px
image_caption = Ruddy Turnstone in nonbreeding plumage

image2_width = 205px
image2_caption = Black Turnstone in winter plumage
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
subclassis = Neornithes
infraclassis = Neoaves
ordo = Charadriiformes
subordo = Scolopaci
familia = Scolopacidae ("partim")
genus = "Arenaria"
genus_authority = Brisson, 1760
subdivision_ranks = Species
subdivision = "Arenaria interpres" "Arenaria melanocephala"

Turnstones are the bird species in the genus "Arenaria" in the family Scolopacidae. They are closely related to calidrid sandpipers and might be considered members of the tribe Calidriini .Thomas "et al" (2004)]

Both birds are distinctive medium-sized waders. They are high Arctic breeders, and are migratory. These chunky powerful birds have strong necks and bills well suited to their feeding technique. As the name implies, these species readily turn stones or seaweed looking for hidden invertebrates. They are strictly coastal, preferring stony beaches to sand, and are often found with other waders such as Purple Sandpipers.

Their appearance is striking in flight, with white patches on the back, wings and tail.

The Ruddy Turnstone (or just Turnstone in Europe), "Arenaria interpres", has a circumpolar distribution, and is a very long distance migrant, wintering on coasts as far south as South Africa and Australia. It is thus a common sight on coasts almost everywhere in the world.

In breeding plumage, this is a showy bird, with a black-and-white head, chestnut back, white underparts and red legs. The drabber winter plumage is basically brown above and white below.

This is a generally tame bird and is an opportunist feeder. Unlike most waders, it will scavenge, and has a phenomenal list of recorded food items, including human corpses and coconut.

The call is a staccato "tuck- tuck- tuck".

The Ruddy Turnstone is one of the species to which the "Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds" (AEWA) applies.

The Black Turnstone ("Arenaria melanocephala") has a similar structure to its widespread relative, but has black upperparts and chest, and white below. It has a much more restricted range than the Ruddy Turnstone, breeding in western Alaska, and wintering mainly on the Pacific coast of the USA.

There exists a fossil bone, a distal piece of tarsometatarsus found in the Edson Beds of Sherman County, Kansas. Dating from the mid-Blancan some 4-3 million years ago, it appears to be from a calidriid somewhat similar to a Pectoral Sandpiper, but has some traits reminiscent of turnstones. [Wetmore (1937)] Depending on which traits are apomorphic and plesiomorphic, it may be an ancestral representative of either lineage.



* (2004): A supertree approach to shorebird phylogeny. "BMC Evol. Biol." 4: 28. doi|10.1186/1471-2148-4-28 [http://www.pubmedcentral.org/picrender.fcgi?artid=515296&blobtype=pdf PDF fulltext] [http://www.pubmedcentral.org/articlerender.fcgi?artid=515296#supplementary-material-sec Supplementary Material]
* (1937): The Eared Grebe and other Birds from the Pliocene of Kansas. "Condor" 39(1): 40. [http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Condor/files/issues/v039n01/p0040-p0040.pdf PDF fulltext] [http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Condor/files/DJVU/v039n01/P0040-P0040.djvu DjVu fulltext]

External links

* [http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Ruddy_Turnstone.html Ruddy Turnstone] - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
* [http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/i2830id.html Ruddy Turnstone "Arenaria interpres"] - USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter
* [http://www.sdakotabirds.com/species/ruddy_turnstone_info.htm Ruddy Turnstone Information] - South Dakota Birds and Birding

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Turnstone — Turn stone , n. (Zo[ o]l.) Any species of limicoline birds of the genera {Strepsilas} and {Arenaria}, allied to the plovers, especially the common American and European species ({Strepsilas interpres}). They are so called from their habit of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • turnstone — [tʉrn′stōn΄] n. any of a genus (Arenaria, family Scolopacidae) of small, migratory shorebirds, esp., the ruddy turnstone ( A. interpres): so called because they turn over pebbles to seek food …   English World dictionary

  • turnstone — /terrn stohn /, n. 1. any shorebird of the genus Arenaria, characterized by the habit of turning over stones in search of food. 2. Brit. See ruddy turnstone. [1665 75; TURN + STONE] * * * ▪ bird       either of two species of shorebirds (genus… …   Universalium

  • Turnstone — akmenė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Arenaria interpres angl. Turnstone vok. Steinwälzer …   Paukščių anatomijos terminai

  • turnstone — akmenės statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Arenaria angl. turnstone vok. Steinwälzer, m rus. камнешарка, f pranc. tourne pierre, m ryšiai: platesnis terminas – akmenės siauresnis terminas – juodoji akmenė siauresnis terminas …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • turnstone — noun Etymology: from a habit of turning over stones to find food Date: circa 1674 either of two shorebirds (genus Arenaria) of the sandpiper family: a. a bird (A. interpres) of worldwide distribution that has black and chestnut upperparts and a… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • turnstone — noun Either of two species of coastal wading bird, Arenaria interpres and Arenaria melanocephala. They breed in the Arctic and readily turn stones or seaweed looking for hidden invertebrates …   Wiktionary

  • turnstone — noun a small short billed sandpiper noted for turning over stones to find small animals. [Genus Arenaria: two species.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • turnstone — turn•stone [[t]ˈtɜrnˌstoʊn[/t]] n. orn any of several shorebirds of the genus Arenaria, of the sandpiper family, having a slender, upturned bill used for turning over pebbles in search of food • Etymology: 1665–75 …   From formal English to slang

  • turnstone — /ˈtɜnstoʊn / (say ternstohn) noun any of the small, migratory, shorebirds constituting the genus Arenaria, notable for their habit of turning over stones in search of food, especially A. interpres, common in both Old and New Worlds …  

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