Turnstone

Irish Name: Piardálaí trá
Scientific name: Arenaria interpres
Bird Family: Turnstone
green
Conservation status

Status

Winter visitor from northeast Canada and northern Greenland, occurs late July to late April

Identification

The wader most likely to be found along our rocky shoreline. Mainly a winter visitor, but good numbers pass through Ireland in spring and autumn en route to/from arctic and subarctic breeding grounds. About the size of a Starling, with a stocky build and short orange legs. In winter, its dark brown upperparts, white underside and black breast crescent make it difficult to see amongst seaweed. Spring birds are brighter and show rich chestnut markings on the wing and back. In flight, Turnstones show a series of black and white stripes, resembling a miniature Oystercatcher. Usually occurs in small flocks, moving with head down, constantly flicking over seaweed fronds, pebbles and beach debris with its short, stubby bill, in search of sand hoppers and other invertebrates.

Voice

Often calls in flight - an abrupt, loud, bubbly "tutt-tutt-tutt…".

Diet

Sandhoppers & other marine invertebrates. Also fish carrion washed up on shore.

Breeding

Does not breed in Ireland - breeding range all around shores of Scandinavia. Small numbers of non-breeding Turnstones (mainly first-summers) can be seen through the summer months.

Wintering

Winters all around the Irish coast.

Monitored by

Irish Wetland Bird Survey.

Similar Species

Purple Sandpiper

Irish Name:
Gobadán cosbhuí
Scientific name:
Calidris maritima
Bird Family:
Sandpipers