A mid-sized shorebird, rare visitor from Eurasia. Alternate Adult male has fluffy ruff feathering around neck, variously plumaged black, white, or rufous with fine black barring; upperparts are rufous or white with black spots, underparts are white. Bill is medium length, slightly decurved, and reddish at base; legs are orange. Alternate Adult female, sometimes called a Reeve, has orange legs and bill, thick black bars and spots on breast, and black spots on tertials. A small number of males resemble females. Basic Adult is gray overall with orange legs and bill. Juvenile, typical in fall in North America, is buffy overall with pale legs, scaled upperparts, thin dark eyeline, and dark bill. Male is much larger than female. In all plumages, note bulky hump-backed structure, upright posture, relatively small head, loose back feathers, and long legs. In flight, tail has U-shaped white pattern at base.
Length: 28 (cm) Wingspan: 53 (cm)
Rarely heard in North America. Calls include short grunting notes.
Mudflats, lakeshores, wet fields, estuaries.
Forages on open mudflats. Often flocks with other shorebirds. In Eurasia, males display on communal leks; nest is a ground depression.
Walks, wades, or swims phalarope-like. Eats a variety of insects and other small aquatic organisms.
With their gangly posture, thin neck, and small head, Ruffs look a little like a Wilson's Phalarope X Rubber Chicken hybrid. Individuals will sometimes linger many days at favored sites in fall migration. If it's nearly the bulk of a Greater Yellowlegs, it's a male. Females and smaller males are not much larger in bulk than a dowitcher, and small enough that juveniles may be mistaken for Sharp-tailed Sandpiper or other species.
Citation: Personal Experience. I observe this occasionally, confident.
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|David Fix added a note to Ruff Notes||7/06/2011 at 6:18PM|