Description of the Black Turnstone
The Black Turnstone is a medium size, chunky shorebird with mostly black upperparts and breast, a white belly, and dark, reddish-brown legs. Length: 9 in. Wingspan: 21 in.
Same as male.
Seasonal change in appearance
White lore spot and eyebrow of breeding birds become dark in the winter.
Photographs © Alan Wilson and Glenn Bartley.
Similar to adults but more brownish.
Mollusks, barnacles, and insects.
Forages by walking throughout coastal rocks.
Breeds in Alaska and winters along the west coast of North America. Populations appear to be declining.
Bent Life History
Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Black Turnstone.
The shape of a bird's wing is often an indication of its habits and behavior. Fast flying birds have long, pointed wings. Soaring birds have long, broad wings. Different songbirds will have a slightly different wing shape. Some species look so much alike (Empidonax flycatchers) that scientists sometimes use the length of specific feathers to confirm a species' identification.
Wing images from the University of Puget Sound, Slater Museum of Natural History
The mostly black plumage of the Black Turnstone gives it excellent camouflage against the dark shoreline rocks it inhabits.
Black Turnstones are loud, aggressive defenders of their nesting territories.
Screaming rattles are often given.