Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Either of two wading birds, Arenaria interpres, a widely distributed species that is dark brown above with large areas of chestnut and black, or A. melanocephala, having black and white plumage, that breeds along the coast of Alaska and winters from there to Baja California.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Either of two species of coastal wading bird, Arenaria interpres and Arenaria melanocephala. They breed in the Arctic and readily turn stones or seaweed looking for hidden invertebrates.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any species of limicoline birds of the genera Strepsilas and Arenaria, allied to the plovers, especially the common American and European species (Strepsilas interpres). They are so called from their habit of turning up small stones in search of mollusks and other aquatic animals. Called also brant bird, sand runner, sea quail, sea lark, sparkback, and skirlcrake.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A small grallatorial bird of the genus Strepsilas, allied both to plovers and to sandpipers: so called from its habit of turning over little stones or pebbles on the sea-shore in search of food.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. migratory shorebirds of the plover family that turn over stones in searching for food

Etymologies

From its method of finding food.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
turn +‎ stone (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Species such as red knot ( '' Calidris canutus '') and ruddy turnstone ( '' Arenaria interpres '') are inferred to have had much larger populations and more extensive breeding areas during glacial stages, although others, such as dunlin ( '' C. alpina ''), exhibit evidence of range fragmentation during glacial stages leading to the evolution of distinct geographically restricted infraspecific taxa.

    Late-Quaternary changes in arctic terrestrial ecosystems, climate, and ultraviolet radiation levels

  • However, there is no doubt that mangroves of this ecoregion are crucial to several long-distance bird migrants including ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres), spotted sandpiper (Actitis macularia), and whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) that utilize them as feeding and resting places from August through April during their extraordinary intercontinental journey.

    Rio São Francisco mangroves

  • Several migratory wader species are regular visitors to the island, principally are double-banded dotterel Charadrius bicinctus, eastern golden plover Pluvialis dominica, turnstone Arenaria interpres, whimbrel Numenius phaeopus and bar-tailed godwit Limosa lapponica.

    Lord Howe Island Group, Australia

  • With the caveat that I'd have absolutely no chance of knowing much about the American avifauna, my guess would be a turnstone Arenaria sp.

    What is this bird?

  • Dunlin and turnstone augur us where, how and when best as to burial of carcass, fuselage of dump and committal of noisance.

    Finnegans Wake

  • And besides the land birds, Gould felt he had looked at some other new species, including a gull, a heron, and a turnstone.

    The Song of The Dodo

  • The commonest messenger birds named in Hawaiian stories are the plover, wandering tattler, and turnstone, all migratory from about April to August, and hence naturally fastened upon by the imagination as suitable messengers to lands beyond common ken.

    The Hawaiian Romance Of Laieikawai

  • The turnstone, when surrounded by comrades belonging to more energetic species, is a rather timorous bird; but it undertakes to keep watch for the security of the commonwealth when surrounded by smaller birds.

    Mutual Aid; a factor of evolution

  • Even now I think with pity of one particular turnstone.

    The Foot-path Way

  • The plover of the plain is the turnstone, strepsilus interpres.

    Memoirs of 30 Years with the Indian Tribes on the American Frontiers

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.