Ruff: Large sandpiper with variably-colored frilly tufts on the neck that ranges from black to rufous to white to speckled and bared. Female lacks ruff. Head is orange-brown and the belly is white. Bill is orange with dark, drooped tip. Orange-yellow legs. Low, direct flight with rapid wing beats.
Range and Habitat
Ruff: Breeds in Eurasia; occasionally nests in northwestern Alaska. Winters mainly in Africa; rare but regular migrant to Hawaii, Alaska, and the east coast of North America. Breeds on lowland grassy wet meadows; winters on wet meadows, muddy fringes of pools and lakes, and brackish coastal lagoons.
Ruffs are highly gregarious, with a wintering flock of 1 million birds reported in Senegal.
It is usually considered the only member of its genus Philomachus, but more recent research indicates that the Broad-billed and Sharp-tailed Sandpiper may belong there too.
The males display at a lek during the breeding season, standing erect, crouching or taking a variety of postures with the ruff erected.
A group of ruffs are collectively known as a "collar" and a "hill" of ruffs."
The Ruff is a medium wading bird which breeds in bogs, marshlands and wet meadows with plenty of low vegetation. Breeding ranges span throughout northern Europe and Russia. This species is migratory, flying to warmer climates in southern and Western Europe, Africa and India during winter months. The Ruff is rarely found in North America, and has been known to nest in Alaska. Nests are hidden on the ground, and 3-4 eggs are included in each nesting season. Food is found by foraging in the wetlands surrounding their natural habitat, eating mainly insects and earthworms. The conservation rating for the Ruff is currently listed as Least Concern.