Turnstone Arenaria interpres   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Charadriiformes Family: Scolopacidae
BTO Codes: TT, TURNS EURING No: 5610
Number in Britain: 48 thousand birds (Winter)
Conservation Status:
European: Not a species of concern
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Scarce Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
Subspecies: interpres recorded in Britain (of 2 subsp. in the world)
Length: 23 cm Wingspan: 54 cm Weight: M/F: 120 g    
Scientific name from: L.: arenarius=of sand (from arena=sand) and L.: interpres=a messenger
World Distribution: BREEDS: n Eurasia & n North America, WINTERS: Europe, Africa, s Asia, Australasia & Americas
Habitat: Tundra, on migration beaches & rocky coasts
Diet: Summer, mostly insects, wider range of invertebrates and other material at other times
TitBit: The Turnstone (aptly named, it will flip stones of almost its own body weight) has been recorded feeding on a very wide range of prey, including bird's eggs, chips and even corpses.  
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: Atlas Mapstore   
British Population Size:
    Winter: 48 thousand individuals in 2004/05 - 2008/09
    First Record: 1676 [Fossil evidence from Ipswichian (last) interglacial, c. 125,000 yr ago]
    Conservation Status: AMBER because Important Non-breeding Population
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern: interpres AMBER (Important Population)
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries
European Population Size:
    Summer: 31 to 64 thousand pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: Bern(III), Bonn(II), AEWA
Survey Results:

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 41 x 29 mm Egg Weight: 17.9 g (of which 5 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 0
Clutch Size: 4 eggs
Incubation: 22- 24 days   by the: Female (occ. Male)
Fledging: 19 - 21days as: Precocial, downy
First Clutches Laid: Does not breed in Britain, or too few Nest Records
Number of Broods: 1
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.860       
Juvenile Survival: No data
Age at First Breeding: 2 years Typical Lifespan: 9 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 22 years 3 months 20 days (set in 2005)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: C2
Wing Length Adult: 156.9 ± 4.6 Range 149 - 164 mm, N =4162
Juvenile: 154.2 ± 4.6 148 - 161 mm, N =473
Male: 156.5 ± 3.9 150 - 163 mm, N =55
Female: 158.6 ± 3.9 153 - 164 mm, N =65
Weight Adult: 107.7 ± 10.51 Range 94.00 - 125.0 g , N =4115
Juvenile: 105.6 ± 8.81 93.00 - 120.0 g , N =456
Male: 128.5 ± 17.36 101.0 - 156.7 g , N =55
Female: 131.5 ± 25.08 104.0 - 176.0 g , N =64
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Ruddy Turnstone
Gaelic: Trìlleachan-beag Welsh: Cwtiad y Traeth
Danish: Stenvender Dutch: Steenloper
Finnish: Karikukko French: Tournepierre à collier
German: Steinwälzer Hungarian: Köforgató
Icelandic: Tildra Irish: Piardálai Trá
Italian: Voltapietre Norwegian: Steinvender
Polish: Kamusznik zwyczajny Portuguese: Rola-do-mar
Spanish: Vuelvepiedras Swedish: Roskarl
Local Names: Tanglepicker, Flipbrick, Sea Dotterel

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