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Types of Birds
The North American turnstone population (Arenaria) consists of two species.
The rugged Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala) inhabits the rocky beaches along western North America, breeding as far north as Alaska.
Winter finds them migrating south to the rocky coasts of Washington State, Oregon and California.
Their black and white feather pattern, along with their black bill, makes for easy field identification. Often they gather with other rock shorebirds such as surfbirds.
Information about their population levels remains incomplete. However, their limited range makes them vulnerable to coastal development and water pollution.
A strong flyer, the Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) breeds in the Arctic and winters along many of the world's coastal areas, including stretches of eastern and western North America.
During breeding season their back feathers turn a bright orange and black, and the chest feathers turn black with a white stripe.
© 2005-2011 Patricia A. Michaels.