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Black Turnstone - BirdForum Opus

Photo by smackay
Grays Harbor, Washington, April 2003
Arenaria melanocephala


Similar to the much more common Ruddy Turnstone, but lacking the harlequin appearance. Overall much plainer in plumage, with very dark to black upperparts and breast, white belly. Legs are dark orange or yellow during breeding. Has a prominent white spot in front of the eye in winter that is missing during the summer breeding season.


West Coast of North America, breeding only in Alaska.

Photo by eastwood
Tsawwassen Jetty, Delta, Canada


Was in the past classified in the Plover (Charadriidae) family; now considered a sandpiper (Scolopacidae).


Rocky shores. Often seen on manmade structures such as jetties and docks.



Forages among rocks and shoreline debris for a wide variety of plant and animal material. Pries open barnacles and shells with its sharp sturdy bill.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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