Black Turnstone

photo by Jason Crotty CC BY

Black Turnstone are short-legged shorebirds (8.5-10 in). They have a dark body, legs, and beak. The chest is dark with dark spots right above the white belly. Breeding adults have a white eyebrow and a white patch under their eye. The white stripes on their wings are visible when flying.

Black Turnstone use their beaks to pry Limpet and other mollusks from the rocks and poke their beak inside Acorn Barnacle to tear them apart. In the summer, they eat berries and insects and lay their eggs in grassy patches along the coast.

Black Turnstone breed along the coast of Alaska in summer, spending their winters along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Baja California.

Did you know? Black Turnstone are very aggressive when breeding and will fly more than 100 miles from their territory to chase away Gulls and Jaegers.

See Also: Black Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Piping Plover, Sanderling, Spotted Sandpiper