Black Turnstone Life History


Habitat Shorelines

  • Breeds in sparsely vegetated areas next to coastal meadows.
  • In winter, found along high-energy rocky shorelines, on beaches near rocky coasts, and on jetties and piers.
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Food Aquatic invertebratesAquatic invertebrates: crustaceans, barnacles, and limpets.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nest Description

Scrape or depression in ground or vegetation. Lined with vegetation.

Nesting Facts
Egg Description:Oval to mildly pointed, pale olive with brown spots and blotches.
Condition at Hatching:Active and covered with down.
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Behavior Ground ForagerUses aerial displays to attract a mate.Uses oddly-shaped bill to flip and turn stones, algae, sticks, and other items to find food underneath. Probes in cracks. Pecks at food on surface of rocks.Back to top


Conservation Restricted RangeThis species is on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action. Back to top


Handel, Colleen M. and Robert E. Gill. (2001). Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. (2014). The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

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