[CT Birds] More (and better) Ruff information
ctgregh at yahoo.com
Sun May 15 21:09:14 EDT 2016
My long-time friend Paul Buckley, lead author on the authoritative book on the birds of Barbados, sent me the following after my earlier post:
Ruffs are annual tradewind fall migrants to Barbados, even in flocks. These and other Eurafrican tradewind wanderers then winter in South Amerca and, come spring, move north in the Western Hemisphere—the source of the Ruffs we see, as well as WW Terns, Curlew Sandpipers, stints, etc.
True female Ruffs are so rare in NA because unlike Ruff males, they largely winter in East Africa, while males winter extensively in West Africa and are thus subject to tradewind drift.
Another piece of the puzzle is the existence of what are known as faeders: ‘pseudomales' that mimic females in size, plumage, and behavior. These are usually misidentified as females. In 65 years I have seen lots of Ruffs over here but only ever a single genuine female. (GH - I believe Chris Elphick has posted here on the subject of these "faeders" but it's been a number of years ago).
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