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Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Turbott, E. G. 1990. Checklist of the birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

Population justification
The global population is estimated to number c.460,000-800,000 individuals (Wetlands International, 2006), while national population estimates include: c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in China; c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.50-10,000 wintering individuals in Taiwan; c.50-10,000 individuals on migration in Korea; c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in Japan and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification
The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006), and in North America the trend is increasing (based on BBS/CBC data: Butcher and Niven 2007).

Behaviour This species is fully migratory (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It breeds from May to early-August (Hayman et al. 1986) in solitary pairs (del Hoyo et al. 1996), although several pairs may nest close together in optimal habitats (Johnsgard 1981) along coasts or on islands (Snow and Perrins 1998). The species migrates in large flocks (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and is gregarious and sociable when feeding or roosting in winter (Snow and Perrins 1998), often foraging in close flocks of 10-100 or more individuals, especially in tidal areas (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat Breeding The species breeds near the coast or up to several kilometres inland (Snow and Perrins 1998) in the high Arctic (Hayman et al. 1986), nesting on coastal plains, marshes and tundra (del Hoyo et al. 1996) and showing a preference for mosaics of bare rock, clay or shingle and vegetation near water (Snow and Perrins 1998) or in areas that remain damp until late summer (Johnsgard 1981). Non-breeding Outside of the breeding season the species is mainly coastal (del Hoyo et al. 1996), although on migration it may occur inland along dykes or on lake shores (del Hoyo et al. 1996). During the winter it frequents productive rocky and shingle shores (Hayman et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), breakwaters (del Hoyo et al. 1996), sandy beaches with storm-wracked seaweed (Hayman et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), short-grass saltmarshes, sheltered inlets, estuaries, mangroves swamps, exposed reefs and mudflats with beds of molluscs (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet Breeding On its Arctic breeding grounds the species takes Diptera(especially adult and larval midges) as well as larval Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Coleoptera and spiders, occasionally also taking vegetable matter early in the season (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding Outside of the breeding season its diet consists of insects, crustaceans, molluscs (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (especially mussels or cockles) (Johnsgard 1981), annelids, echinoderms, small fish, carrion and birds eggs (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a shallow depression (del Hoyo et al. 1996) in mud, peat or on dry ground (Johnsgard 1981) with dense vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996), often positioned on a slight ridge, hummock or tussock, or in cleft or shallow fissure (Snow and Perrins 1998). The species usually nests solitarily, although neighbouring pairs may nest as little as 15 m apart along coasts or on islands (where abundant feeding habitats are available) (Snow and Perrins 1998). Management information Removing feral American mink Neovison vison from a large archipelago with many small islands in the Baltic Sea had the result of increasing the breeding density of this species in the area (Nordstrom et al. 2003).

The species suffers nest predation from feral American mink Neovison vison in some regions (Nordstrom et al. 2003), and is susceptible to avian influenza so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the virus (Melville and Shortridge 2006).

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Hayman, P.; Marchant, J.; Prater, A. J. 1986. Shorebirds. Croom Helm, London.

Johnsgard, P. A. 1981. The plovers, sandpipers and snipes of the world. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, U.S.A. and London.

Melville, D. S.; Shortridge, K. F. 2006. Migratory waterbirds and avian influenza in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway with particular reference to the 2003-2004 H5N1 outbreak. In: Boere, G.; Galbraith, C., Stroud, D. (ed.), Waterbirds around the world, pp. 432-438. The Stationary Office, Edinburgh, UK.

Nordström, M.; Högmander, J.; Nummelin, J.; Laine, J.; Laanetu, N.; Korpimäki, E. 2003. Effects of feral mink removal on seabirds, waders and passerines on small islands in the Baltic Sea. Biological Conservation 109: 359-368.

Snow, D. W.; Perrins, C. M. 1998. The Birds of the Western Palearctic vol. 1: Non-Passerines. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Further web sources of information
Detailed regional assessment and species account from the European Red List of Birds (BirdLife International, 2015)

Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Arenaria interpres. Downloaded from on 10/02/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 10/02/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Scolopacidae (Sandpipers, Snipes, Phalaropes)
Species name author (Linnaeus, 1758)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2,620,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment