Ruddy Turnstones in breeding and nonbreeding plumage

/, Florida, Fort De Soto County Park, Pinellas County, Ruddy Turnstones/Ruddy Turnstones in breeding and nonbreeding plumage

Ruddy Turnstone in nonbreeding plumageRuddy Turnstone in nonbreeding plumage – Nikon D200, handheld, f8, 1/500, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 310mm, natural light

This is an image of a Ruddy Turnstone in nonbreeding plumage that was taken at Fort De Soto’s north beach in Florida during the month of March a few years ago. The edges of the scapulars and coverts show wear, the face and back are brownish.

Ruddy Turnstone in breeding plumageMale Ruddy Turnstone in breeding plumage – Nikon D200, handheld, f9, 1/500, ISO 160, Nikkor 70-300mm VR at 240mm, natural light

The image above shows a male Ruddy Turnstone in breeding plumage, this photo was also taken at Fort De Soto’s north beach in the month of May a few years ago. Breeding males are brighter and more colorful than breeding females. The males are striking with their black, white and ruddy calico pattern.

Ruddy Turnstones in breeding and nonbreeding plumage can appear to be two different species to novice birders and bird photographers as can several other bird species. I highly recommend  purchasing good field guides to help with identification.

During migration some Ruddy Turnstones do stop over in Utah but I haven’t been able to approach them close enough to get quality images.



  1. Susan August 17, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Wow, what a difference, I would never have been able to tell they are the same bird. Awesome post, thanks again for sharing:)

    • Mia McPherson August 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      Susan, thanks so much for commenting on this post

  2. Nicole MacP August 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Beautiful pics, love the comparison!

  3. Merrill Ann Gonzales August 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I can’t tell you, how valuable these photos are to me to be able to study the feathering of birds. While I seldom like to draw a bird in profile like this, I rely so much on being able to view photographs that document the way a bird is constructed…in order for me to get inside the bird… In gratitude, Merrill

    • Mia McPherson August 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      Merrill, I am tickled that you think my images are valuable to you as an artist. Thank you very much for your kinds words.

  4. Tami Vogel August 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I love seeing the breeding/non-breeding shots side-by-side, Mia. I’ve never seen a Ruddy Turnstone – now I know what to look for when we’re in Florida!

    • Mia McPherson August 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      Tami, I hope you get to see many Ruddy Turnstones while you are in Florida, they are fantastic birds. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Stu August 17, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Another set of great images Mia! Being british, ‘Ruddy’ was a word my mum used endlessly when I was growing up, so I always think of her when i see these guys.

    • Mia McPherson August 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      Thank you Stu, I was pretty sure Ruddy was something British mums used a lot!

  6. Laurence Butler August 17, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Well these are pretty quality anyway! Turnstones are super birds, pulling off one of the greatest plumage transformations in North America.

    • Mia McPherson August 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      I agree Laurence, Turnstones are super birds!

  7. Tammy Karr August 17, 2012 at 5:17 am

    Incredible images Mia! Beautiful colors!

  8. M. Firpi August 17, 2012 at 4:45 am

    The browns, vibrant patterns are so prominent.

    • Mia McPherson August 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      I love the vivid calico patterns the breeding Ruddy Turnstones exhibit. Thanks for your comment Maria.

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