Ruddy Turnstone



Ruddy Turnstone in South America

Scientific name: Arenaria interpres ([1])

Family: Scolopacidae

Spanish name: Vuelvepiedras

Migration: Nearctic migrant

Population estimate: 180,000

Trend: Decreasing

Ramsar Criterion 6 (1% level): 1,800

IUCN Conservation status: Not known to have unfavourable conservation status


Distribution and abundances

During the non-breeding season widely distributed along the coasts of South America, south to Tierra del Fuego. Most heavily concentrated in the north of the continent, in north of Brazil (mainly between Belem and Sao Luis), Surinam, French Guiana, Peru and north and central Chile. Less common along the coast of Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil. Some birds recorded inland South America, especially during migration (link to Abundances map). Sites reaching the 1% threshold (Ramsar Convention Criterion No. 6) are: Reentrancias Maranhenses and Costa de Belem in Brazil, Paracas in Peru and different sites along the coasts of Suriname.


Migration and seasonality

Migrates along the Pacific and Atlantic Flyways following the coast, with small numbers reaching the coasts of Patagonia of Chile and Argentina. Southward migration occurs by early-mid September and northward migration starts by late April. Many immature birds remain in South America during the austral winter (link to Seasonality map).



In the wintering grounds mostly in coastal, rocky or stony coasts and also along sandy beaches, where restingas are exposed at low tide. Also estuaries, mangroves stands and mudflats, preferably with bed of mussels or cockles.


Habits and interactions with human activities

Gregarious, sometimes in mixed flocks with other shorebird species. Overlaps with human activities in coastal areas and especially with tourism.



Antas, P.T.Z. 1983. Migration of nearctic shorebirds (Charadriidae and Scolopacidae) in Brasil ‑ flyways and their different seasonal use. Wader Study Group Bull. 39: 52-56.

Bent, A.C. 1962. Life Histories of North American Shore Birds. Part I. Dover Publications INC. New York.

Canevari, P., G. Castro, M. Sallaberry & L.G. Naranjo. 2001. Guía de los chorlos y playeros de la Región Neotropical. ABC, WWF-US, WA, MBO & Asociación Calidris, Cali, Colombia.

De la Peña, M.R. & M. Rumboll. 1998. Birds of southern South America and Antarctica. Collins Illustrated Checklist. Harper-Collins Pub. London.

del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & J. Sargatal (eds). 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 3. Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Ed., Barcelona.

Hayman, P., J. Marchant & T. Prater. 1986. Shorebirds. Christopher Helm, London.

Morrison, R. I. G. and R. K. Ross. 1989. Atlas of Nearctic Shorebirds on the Coast of South America. Canadian Wildlife Service Special Publication, Ottawa.

Olrog, C.C. 1968. Las aves sudamericanas: Una guía de campo. Tomo I. Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Fundación - Instituto Miguel Lillo, Tucumán, Argentina.

Ridgely, R.S., T. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, R.E. Young & R. Zook. 2003. Digital distribution maps on the birds of the Western Hemisphere. Version 1.0. Nature-Serve, Arlington, Virginia.

Rodríguez Mata, J., F. Erize & M. Rumboll. 2006. Guía de Campo Collins – Aves de Sudamérica: No Passeriformes. Harper Collins Ltd.

Wetlands International. 2006. Waterbird Population Estimates – Fourth Edition. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.




Authors: Daniel E. Blanco, Román Baigún & Bernabé López-Lanús

Data compiler: Eugenio Coconier

Photographer: Roberto Güller

Recommended citation: Blanco D.E., R. Baigún & B. López-Lanús. 2008. Ruddy Turnstone in South America factsheet. Wetlands International for the Global Avian Influenza Network for Surveillance / WCS / USAID.

([1]) Arenaria interpres morinella




Click on the link to download the factsheet in pdf format: Ruddy Turnstone



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