1430. Strepsilas interpres.
Tringa interpres, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 248 (1766). Strepsilas interpres, Illiger, Prodr. p. 263; Blyth, Cat. p. 271 ; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 656; Adam, S. F. ii, p. 338; Le Mess. S. F. iii, p. 380; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 154 ; Hume, S. F. iv, p. 464; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 900; Hume, Cat. no. 860; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 82 ; Butler, ibid. p. 427 ; Barker, ibid. p. 482 ; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 376; Reid, S. F. x, p. 452 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 338 ; Sharpe, Yark. Miss., Aves, p. 139. Arenaria interpres, Vieill. Nouv. Dict. d'Hist. Nat. xxxiv, p. 345; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxiv, p. 92. Cinclus interpres, C. R. Gray, Gen. B. iii, p. 549; Hume, S. F. i, p. 233 ; ii, p. 292.
Coloration. In winter the head above and at the sides is brown with darker streaks, the ear-coverts more uniform brown ; upper back, scapulars, tertiaries, and wing-coverts dark brown, the feathers with slight pale edges; some of the under scapulars are partially or wholly white ; quills dark brown with white shafts and part of the inner web white, some of the inner secondaries entirely white; lower back, rump, and longer upper tail-coverts white; shorter upper tail-coverts dark brown; tail dark brown, the feathers white at the base, and all except the median pair with buff or white tips, outermost pair almost wholly white; chin, throat, and lower parts from breast white, fore neck and sides of breast brown.
In summer plumage the head is white, with streaks of black on the crown and a black band from the forehead to the front of the eye, joined to a black patch below the eye; a band from the gape, a partial collar on the sides of the neck, the fore neck, and sides of the breast all black ; rest of lower parts white ; the back, scapulars, tertiaries, and wing-coverts are partly black, partly deep rufous. Intermediate stages between the summer and winter plumage are common.
Bill black; iris brown ; legs and feet orange-red; claws black.
Length 8.5 ; tail 2.35 ; wing 6 ; tarsus 1; bill from gape 1.
Distribution. Almost world-wide. A winter visitor to the Indian coasts and islands, but generally rare or of occasional occurrence. Common about Karachi, found abundantly by Hume at the Laccadives, and far from rare at the Andamans, Nicobars, and other islands of the Bay of Bengal. The Turnstone is not, as a rule, found away from the sea-coasts or estuaries except when migrating. It is generally met with, in India, in the cold season, but has been shot in Ceylon in June, and at Karachi in August; it is, however, only known to breed in high northern latitudes.
Habits, &c. The Turnstone derives its name from its habit of turning over stones, shells, &c, on the sea-shore in order to feed on the crustaceans, mollusca, and worms that shelter beneath them. At the Laccadives Hume found Turnstones swimming in the sea like Phalaropes.