Ruff Facts

Ruff Facts
Ruff is wading bird that belongs to the sandpiper family. It can be found in the northern parts of Europe and Asia. Ruff inhabits tundra, open wetlands, wet meadows, brackish coastal lagoons and estuaries. Loss of wetlands, pollution of the ground with pesticides and over-hunting are the major threats for the survival of ruffs in the wild. Despite sharp decline in the number of ruffs in some parts of their range, global population is still large and stable. Ruff is not on the list of endangered species.
Interesting Ruff Facts:
Ruff can reach 8.7 to 12.6 inches in length and 3.9 to 6.4 ounces of weight. Males are larger than females.
Males have orange-brown head, grey-brown back, black breast and white belly during the breeding season. They also have thick collars (ruffs) on the neck and tufts of long, bright feathers on the head that can be spread out. Outside the breeding season, males and females are grey-brown colored and have light-colored plumage on the belly. White, U-shaped marking on the bottom side of the tail is clearly visible during the flight.
Ruff has small head, orange bill, elongated neck, medium-sized body and long orange-yellow legs.
Ruff has a wingspan of 21 to 24 inches. It has direct flight, characterized by deep, slow wing beats.
Ruff is a carnivore (meat-eater). Its diet is based on insects, worms and small aquatic invertebrates. Seed is occasionally consumed.
Ruff relies on the eyesight to detect food.
Ruff overwinters in southern parts of Europe, Africa, South Asia and Australia.
Ruff is gregarious bird. It gathers in groups of hundreds of thousands to million birds on the wintering grounds.
Natural enemies of ruffs are Arctic skua, gulls, hooded crows, foxes and feral cats.
Males gather in large groups, called leks, to display their beautiful feathers and attract females. There are two types of males: resident and satellite males. Resident males occupy certain territory and display their plumage to impress females. Smaller males with light-colored ruffs are known as satellite males. They lack territories, so they attempt to mate with females that approach territories of resident males, risking injuries from owners of a territory. Resident males tolerate satellite males because they also attract some of the females to the breeding areas.
Females, known as reeves, choose mating partner. They leave as soon as copulation completes. Males do not show parental care.
Female nests in dense marshes. Nest is shallow depression in the ground lined with grass.
Female lays 3 to 4 eggs that hatch after 20 to 23 days. Unlike other wading birds, ruffs (females) collect food for their chicks.
Young ruffs learn to fly at the age of 25 to 28 days. They reach sexual maturity at the age of 2 years.
Ruff can survive up to 13 years in the wild (4 years is an average lifespan).

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