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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Black Turnstone

Arenaria melanocephala ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: SCOLOPACIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The Black Turnstone is one of the defining species for the rocky, wave-battered Pacific Coast. It blends in well with the dark rocks, but a careful winter observer will find it from Alaska through Baja California. It is rarely found far from the vicinity of spraying waves.

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Appearance

Shorebirds
Shorebirds
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Stocky, medium-sized, short-legged shorebird.
  • Short, dark bill fairly thick with a slight upturn to the lower mandible.
  • Legs usually dark, but occasionally dark red or pinkish.
  • Bold wing pattern visible in flight, produced by white feathers at the base of the leading edge of the wing, a white wing stripe, and a white lower back.
  • White tail with black terminal band.

Immature Description

Resembles winter adult, but slightly more brownish overall with buffy fringes on feathers of body and tail tipped with brown rather than white.

Range Map Help

Black Turnstone Range Map
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Field MarksHelp

  • Nonbreeding adult

    Black Turnstone

    Nonbreeding adult
  • Nonbreeding adult

    Black Turnstone

    Nonbreeding adult
    • © Paul Rioux, Colwood, British Columbia, Canada, January 2013
  • Breeding adult

    Black Turnstone

    Breeding adult

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