Ruddy Turnstone
(Arenaria interpres)


Picture of bird
© Tony Battiste
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

Two subspecies of Ruddy Turnstone breed in Canada: one breeds in the High Arctic and winters in Europe (Arenaria interpres interpres), while the other breeds in the central Arctic and winters along both coasts of the United States south to southern South America (A. i. morinella). Surveys suggest that the population in Canada has decreased in abundance relative to about 1970, and both subspecies face a variety of threats during migration and in winter. However, because of regional variation in survey results, there is significant uncertainty about the overall status of Canada's Ruddy Turnstone population. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Vulnerable2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLarge DecreaseLowBelow Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada100,000 - 500,000 adults (includes birds breeding and migrating within Canada)

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Long-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts in early June and ends in late July, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.

Conservation and management

The Ruddy Turnstone is affected by loss and disturbance of coastal wintering habitats in Europe and elsewhere (e.g., Evans et al. 1991). Agricultural effluents are a risk in several key areas including coastal Brazil (Nettleship 2000). Reduced availability of prey due the horseshoe crab harvest in Delaware Bay (Ruddy Turnstones eat their eggs), and other regional disturbances, affect turnstones and other shorebirds at key migratory staging sites (e.g., Botton et al. 1994, Nettleship 2000).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Arctic Plains and MountainsArctic Plains and Mountains, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Other
Atlantic Northern ForestsAtlantic Northern Forests, sub-region and priority type: Quebec -- Other
Boreal Softwood ShieldBoreal Softwood Shield, sub-region and priority type: Quebec -- Other
Northern Pacific RainforestNorthern Pacific Rainforest, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Other
Prairie PotholesPrairie Potholes, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern -- Other
Taiga Shield and Hudson PlainsTaiga Shield and Hudson Plains, sub-region and priority type: Ontario -- Conservation


  • Botton, M.L., R.E. Loveland and J.T.R. Jacobsen. 1994. Site selection of migratory shorebirds in Delaware Bay, and its relationship to beach characteristics and abundance of horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) eggs. Auk 111:605-616.
  • Delaney, S., D. Scott, T. Dodman,and D. Stroud. 2009. An Atlas of Wader Populations in Africa and Western Eurasia. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands. 524 pp.
  • Evans, P.R., N.C. Davidson, T. Piersma and N.W. Pienkowski. 1991. Implications of habitat loss at migration staging posts for shorebird populations. International Ornithological Congress 20:2228-2235.
  • Morrison, R.I.G. and R.K. Ross. 1989. Atlas of Nearctic Shorebirds on the Coast of South America. 2 vols. Special Publication, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ottawa, Ontario. 325 pp.
  • Nettleship, D.N. 2000. Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Nettleship, D.N. 2000. Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. (Link)