Monday, 30 August 2010

Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)

Latin Etymology: Philomachus ("pugnacious") pugnax ("fond of fighting")
Two Winter Plumage Ruff (Philomachus pugnax) with two Golden Plover at Oare Marshes, Kent - September 2011

Featured Subspecies: N/A
Weight: 180g  /  Length: 29-32cm  /  Wingspan: 54-60cm
UK RED LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Ruff is the sole member of its genus, which is found in the broader "sandpipers and allies" family of Scolopacidae. In the UK, it is actually a relatively rare bird with only 800 wintering and less than 40 breeding, and otherwise mainly seen on passage. Not knowing this, before I started the Bird-dex I actually must have seen a sizable chunk of that 700 on one lagoon at Rutland Water at one point, and at the time I didn't think much of it, but subsequently I've never seen such a large quantity at once. Oare Marshes in Spring and Autumn seems to be a pretty reliable site to get good close up views of these birds.  Ruff are a very variable species visually, that can come in a variety of colours, not even counting the spectacular namesake ruff which is hard to see in this country.

Related Species:
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae
Genus: Philomachus
Subspecies: none - monotypic

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM A very rare breeding secies (0-11 females) and scarce Wintering species (820 birds) 
 - Seen at Rutland WaterOare MarshesPitsford Reservoir and Rainham - generally in Autumn.

Further Information: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red ListRSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto

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