Arenaria interpres

Status:  Uncommon regular spring migrant east and central, rare casual west.  Rare casual fall migrant statewide.

Documentation: Specimen: UNSM ZM12626, 16 May 1895 Lancaster Co.

Taxonomy:  Two subspecies are generally recognized, interpres, of Eurasia from Greenland east to northwestern and western Alaska, and morinella, of North America from northeastern Alaska to eastern Canada (Nettleship 2020).  Nebraska birds are presumed morinella.

Spring:  May 3, 3, 4 <<<>>> Jun 4, 5, 6

There are earlier reports 12 Apr 2019 Branched Oak Lake, Lancaster Co, 22 Apr 2019 Johnson Co, 25 Apr 2020 Pierce Co, 1 May 2018 Seward Co, 3 May Rainwater Basin (Jorgensen 2012) and 3 May 2016 Seward Co.

A later report is 14 Jun 1977 Cherry Co.

Migrants are usually only found in May, with a well-defined peak in the third week; high counts are 15-22 May.

There are only about 16 reports from the western half of the state, most from the Lake McConaughy region, Keith Co, where Rosche (1994) considered it “very rare.”

  • High counts: 100+ near Tamora, Seward Co 16 May 2014, 85 at Lakes North and Babcock, Platte Co 15 May 2019, 59 in the eastern Rainwater Basin 19 May 2005 (including 42 at Wilkins WPA, Fillmore Co), and 44 near Utica, Seward Co 19 May 2007.

Fall: Jul 19, 20, 21 <<<>>> Sep 6, 9, 10

Later dates are 17-19 Sep 2018 Polk Co, 13 Oct 1986 Lakes North and Babcock, Platte Co.

There are only around 40 fall reports, with a noticeable separation in timing between adults and juveniles. There are 11 reports of presumed adults 19 Jul-8 Aug, and two documented later sightings of alternate-plumaged birds, at Lake McConaughy 22 Aug 2000 and in Fillmore Co 25 Aug 2014.  The remaining reports are in the period 15 Aug-19 Sep, most, if not all, juveniles.


UNSM: University of Nebraska State Museum
WPA: Waterfowl Production Area (Federal)

Literature Cited

Nettleship, D.N. 2020. Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.

Rosche, R.C. 1994. Birds of the Lake McConaughy area and the North Platte River valley, Nebraska.  Published by the author, Chadron, Nebraska, USA.

Recommended Citation

Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen.  2021.  Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres). In Birds of Nebraska — Online.

Birds of Nebraska – Online

Updated 1 Jun 2021