: A Coastal Bird Worth Knowing
If you’re a bird lover or just someone who enjoys observing wildlife, then the Black Turnstone is an interesting species that you should definitely check out. These small shorebirds have unique characteristics and behaviors that make them stand out from other coastal birds.
The Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala) is a medium-sized bird, about 9-10 inches long with a wingspan of around 20 inches. They are named for their dark black plumage on their head and neck, which contrasts with their white underparts. Their bodies are stout and compact, making them well-suited to navigating rocky coastal environments.
Where To Find This Bird
Black Turnstones can be found along the coasts of North America during migration periods from August through May. During breeding season in June and July, they migrate northward to Alaska’s Bering Sea islands.
These birds typically inhabit rocky shores where they feed on crustaceans such as crabs and barnacles that live in tidal pools. They can also be seen foraging along sandy beaches or mudflats at low tide.
As mentioned earlier, the primary food source for Black Turnstones consists of marine invertebrates like mollusks and crustaceans. The turnstones use their specialized bills to flip over rocks looking for prey hidden beneath them or probe shallow water with their bills searching for food.
Black Turnstones have some fascinating characteristics worth mentioning:
– Unlike most shorebirds that rely on camouflage to avoid predators, Black Turnstones will actively defend themselves by pecking at larger animals like gulls if threatened.
– Also unique among shorebirds is how they feed; rather than probing deeply into sand or mudflats like other species do, turnstones use short quick jabs with their bill under stones or shells less than two inches deep
– A long-lived species, one Black Turnstone was documented living to 22 years of age.
– During their breeding season, males will perform an impressive courtship display involving wing-flapping and strutting while making a variety of vocalizations.
In conclusion, the Black Turnstone is a fascinating bird that’s definitely worth observing. Their unique physical characteristics and behaviors make them stand out from other shorebirds, and they play an important role in coastal ecosystems. So next time you’re at the beach or near a rocky coastline, keep your eyes peeled for this interesting bird!