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When visiting Casa de Campo’s Minitas Beach there is one bird we can guarantee you will see – the Ruddy Turnstone. Commonly mistaken for a “sandpiper”, the little white and grey birds seen scurrying along the sand of Minitas Beach are actually Ruddy Turnstones. Ruddy Turnstones look a lot like sandpipers, both birds are small and scuttle about the sand looking for food. The main difference between the 2 species is the length of their beaks, sandpipers have long beaks which they use to burrow into the sand and find food, while Ruddy Turnstones have shorter beaks which they use to turn over stones – hence the unimaginative name!
An interesting characteristic about the Ruddy Turnstones of Minitas Beach is that they will seemingly beg for food, something which is not normal for this species of birds, and indeed most birds in general. It seems that the Ruddy Turnstones of Minitas Beach have gotten use to eating scraps of pizza, burgers and french fries dropped off the edge of sun loungers!
A few other birds you may spot when sipping on a mojito or pina colada at Minitas Beach are the Brown Pelican and the national bird of the Dominican Republic – the Palmchat, who you can see nesting at the top of the palmtrees.
The Ruddy Turnstones profile
- It ranges between 21-26 cm in length and weighs approximately 115g.
- It is a chubby, medium-sized shorebird.
- They have short oranges legs and a small black beak.
- They have a grayish brown color.
- They have a brown head with white spots.
- Inhabit coastal lagoons, marshes and beaches.
- It is a common non-breeding visitor common in spring and autumn
- They are called “turnstone” because they use their beaks to turn over the stones looking for food.
- They breed mostly in northern Alaska.
Birds of Hispaniola
The island of Hispaniola, shared between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, has more than 300 different bird species, of which 32 are endemic, meaning that in the entire world, this is the only place they can be found. Incredibly, 8 of these endemic species can be spotted right here in Casa de Campo, as well as many more!
This is the fifth article of our series “Birds of Casa de Campo”, in future articles you can look forward to reading about: the Broad-Billed Tody, the Barrancoli, the Hispaniolan Lizard Cuckoo and many more!
Click here to read part 1: The Hispaniolan Parakeets of the Teeth of the Dog
Click here to read part 2: The Brown Pelican
Click here to read part 3: The Hispaniolan Woodpeckers
Click here to read part 4: The little yellow Village Weaver
Click here to read part 5: The Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron