Arenaria interpres (Linnaeus, 1758)
Family: Charadriiformes > Scolopacidae
This colourful wader, its plumage a striking mix of chestnut, black and white, is widespread around our coasts in winter.
Breeding in the Arctic, the Turnstone is primarily a winter visitor; summering birds are usually younger individuals that have not attained breeding condition. The species can be found in any coastal habitat, although has a preference rocky shores.
Turnstones forage on the tideline, flipping over small stones in the search for small crustaceans and insects. But Turnstone are famously indiscriminate in their diet and there is a small sub-genre of the scientific literature enumerating the things they have been recorded eating – from packets of artificial sweetener to decomposing corpses!
Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the Turnstone
Turnstone identification is often straightforward.
Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of Turnstone, provided by xeno-canto contributors.
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Status and Trends
Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.
This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.
|UK winter population
|-25% decrease (1995/96 to 2020/21)
Turnstone winter on sandy beaches, estuaries and rocky shores. They are widespread and occupy most coastal 10-km squares of the UK.
Occupied 10-km squares in UK
|No. occupied in winter
|% occupied in winter
European Distribution Map
The Turnstone winter distribution has expanded by 9% across Britain & Ireland since the early 1980s, with increases most notable in southwest Ireland, northwest Scotland, and at a few inland sites in Britain.
More from the Atlas Mapstore.
|% change in range in winter (1981–84 to 2007–11)
Turnstones are mostly passage migrants and winter visitors but small numbers can be seen throughout the year, although none breed.
Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.
Lifecycle and body size information about Turnstone, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.
View number ringed each year in the Online Ringing Report
|Maximum Age from Ringing
|20 years 0 months 3 days (set in 2006)
|9 years with breeding typically at 2 year
|156.9±4.6 | Range 149–164mm, N=4162
|154.2±4.6 | Range 148-161mm, N=473
|156.5±3.9 | Range 150–163mm, N=55
|158.6±3.9 | Range 153–164mm, N=65
|108±10.51 | Range 94.0–125g, N=4115
|106±8.8133 | Range 93.0–120g, N=456
|129±17.36 | Range 101–157g, N=55
|132±25.08 | Range 104–176g, N=64
Feather measurements and photos on featherbase
|2-letter: TT | 5-letter code: TURNS | Euring: 5610
For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name
Interpretation and scientific publications about Turnstone from BTO scientists.
Protected sites are assigned based on population statistics for vulnerable and endangered species. This new study using WeBS data shows that changes in population size can affect local abundance, and thus influence whether or not key targets are met for site protection.
Links to more information from ConservationEvidence.com
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