BLACK TURNSTONE


Arenaria melanocephala


Description:

Turnstones do most of their foraging by probing cracks along wave-splashed rocks for small invertebrates. As its name implies, this bird sometimes overturns small rocks and debris to expose hidden invertebrates.


Appearance:

General: Sexes similar. 7-9 inches in length.

Adult Alternate: Black chest, head, and upperparts. White belly, lower back, eyebrow, and lore spot. White spots on side of neck and breast. Short, slightly upturned black bill. Dark red-brown or sometimes pinkish legs.

Adult Basic: Similar to alternate, but dark brown or gray upperparts, and lacks white neck and lore spots.

Junenile: Similar to adult basic.


Habitat:

Rocky and sandy beaches, mudflats.


Nesting:

4 yellow-olive eggs with darker brown and olive marks. They have a 21-22 day incubation period. Fledging occurs ? days after hatching. The nest is an unlined depression on an open, pebbly ridge or gravel bar in wet tundra.


Observed Locations:

  • Mission Bay
  • La Jolla Cove area, La Jolla
  • Cabrillo National Monument tidepools, Point Loma





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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.