Ruff Calidris pugnax   [Linnaeus, 1758]

Jump to: Other Names Trends & Distribution Breeding & Survival Biometrics Books & Links

For details point at or click the button; for sources point at the button

Order: Charadriiformes Family: Scolopacidae
BTO Codes: RU, RUFF. EURING No: 5170
Number in Britain: 800 birds (Winter)
Conservation Status:
European: 2 Concern, most in Europe; Declining
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Scarce Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
Subspecies: Monotypic
Length: 25 cm Wingspan: 53 cm Weight: M: 180 g   F: 110 g    
Scientific name from: Gr.: philomachus=pugnacious and L.: pugnare=to fight
World Distribution: BREEDS: Locally in Europe, n&c Asia, WINTERS: south to s Africa & Australia
Habitat: Grassy tundra, lakes, farmland, on migration mudflat
Diet: Invertebrates, especially insects, some plant material (esp winter)
TitBit: The males are spectacular, using their large ruff of feathers round the neck to attract females; those with white ruffs ('satellite' males) do not display to females, but sneak matings where they can.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: No population trend available
Distribution: No distribution maps available
British Population Size:
    Winter: 800 individuals in 2004/05 - 2008/09
    Summer: 5 to . Females in
    Passage: 1100 individuals
    First Record: Recorded in Medieval times [Fossil evidence from early Holocene, up to 10,000 yr ago]
    First Breeding Record: Cambridgeshire/Norfolk (after extinct 1898) 1963
    Latest Survey: Musgrove, A. et al. (2013) British Birds 106:64-100
    Conservation Status: RED because Recent Breeding Population Decline,
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern:
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries  and summary map from Time to Fly (in pop-up windows)
European Population Size:
    Summer: 60 to 90 thousand pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WCA(I), WBD(I& II*), Bern(III), Bonn(II), AEWA
Survey Results:

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 44 x 31 mm Egg Weight: 21.0 g (of which 5 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 0
Clutch Size: 4 eggs
Incubation: 20- 23 days   by the: Female
Fledging: 25 - 28days as: Precocial, downy
First Clutches Laid: Unavailable
Number of Broods: 1
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.524 ± 0.036    (Sexes similar)    
Juvenile Survival: No data
Age at First Breeding: 2 years Typical Lifespan: 4 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 9 years 0 months 25 days (set in 1986)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: C (females) or D (male and pulli)
Wing Length Adult: Insufficient Data
Juvenile: 169.4 ± 15.9 152 - 194 mm, N =69
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data
Weight Adult: Insufficient Data
Juvenile: 136.8 ± 43.19 85.00 - 215.0 g , N =61
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: Insufficient Data

Other Names

Reeve (female)
Previously Philomachus pugnamx
Gaelic: Gibeagan Welsh: Pibydd Totchog
Danish: Brushane Dutch: Kemphaan
Finnish: Suokukko French: Chevalier combattant
German: Kampfläufer Hungarian: Pajzsoscankó
Icelandic: Rúkragi Irish: Rufachán
Italian: Combattante Norwegian: Brushane
Polish: Batalion Portuguese: Combatente
Spanish: Combatiente Swedish: Brushane
Collective Noun:Hill

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Rhijn, J. 1991 The ruff : individuality in a gregarious wading bird Poyser, London [598.612 RHI]
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides