Male and female
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Aequorlitornithes
Order: Charadriiformes
Suborder: Limicoli
Family: Scolopacidae
Genus: Calidris
Species: C. pugnax
Binomial name
Calidris pugnax
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Generally Ruffs migrate north and breed in the northern hemisphere from about May to August, and generally at the end of the breeding season they migrate south and spend several months the Sub-Tropics before migrating north again
Range of P. pugnax      Breeding summer visitor     Present all year     Non-breeding range

Philomachus pugnax
Tringa pugnax

The Ruff (Calidris pugnax) is a medium-sized wading bird that breeds in marshes and wet meadows across northern Eurasia. This highly gregarious sandpiper is migratory and sometimes forms huge flocks in its winter grounds, which include southern and western Europe, Africa, southern Asia and Australia. It is in the genus Calidris[2], and the Broad-billed and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers are its closest relatives.

Other names

The female is called a Reeve.[3]


Breeding males are unmistakable but variable. In moult males have non-breeding type plumage splattered with dark blotches on the breast.[3]

In flight, it shows a narrow white bar on upperwing and prominent white sides to long uppertail coverts.[3]

Similar species




They are usually silent but may give a low kuk in flight.


Large numbers of males gather in leks to display their spreading ruffs, jumping and jostling or standing motionless in an effort to attract reeves.[3]


They inhabit coastal tundra, marsh fringes, and damp meadows. In non-breeding, they frequent lakes, pools, river margins, wet grasslands, and marshes.[3]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Philomachus pugnax". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Chesser, R. Terry, Richard C. Banks, F. Keith Barker, Carla Cicero, Jon L. Dunn, Andrew W. Kratter, Irby J. Lovette, Pamela C. Rasmussen, J. V. Remsen, James D. Rising, Douglas F. Stotz, Kevin Winker (2011). "Fifty-fourth supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-List of North American Birds". Auk. 130 (3): 558–571. doi:10.1525/auk.2013.130.3.558. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Arlott, Norman (2009). A Field Guide to the Birds of the Palearctic Non-Passerines. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd. ISBN 9780007155651. 

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