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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Ruff



Awaiting image for this species




Philomachus pugnax

Gaelic: Gibeagan


  • Ruff (female also called Reeve)
  • Philomachus pugnax
  • Gaelic: Gibeagan
  • UK: Migrant Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor. AMBER LIST. 700 birds winter BTO . Breeding 37 males RSPB
  • WI: Scarce & sometimes uncommon passage visitor (Usually very small numbers each year, but sometimes up to 50 birds). Aug/Sept. Two winter records. May have bred
  • Breeds: Bogs, marshes, wet meadows. Nests in short vegetation. Females raise the young. Northern Europe, Russia, Asia
  • Winters: South of breeding range to Africa, India, Australia
  • Habitat: Grassy tundra, croftland, farmland, machair, lakes (migration mudflats)
  • Diet: Forages wet grassland & mud, probing or by sight. Mainly insects, earthworms, some plant material, seeds (winter), larvae, frogs, small fish
  • Medium-sized wader (22-32cm length). Pot-bellied profile. Long neck, small head. Medium, slightly drooping bill. Yellowish-orange med-long legs.
    Breeding males spectacular black, chestnut or white neck ruffs & head tufts. Backs grey-brown. White below except for black breast. Flight: Faint wing-stripe & oval white patches either side of the tail. Gregarious - a wintering flock of 1 million occured (Senegal)
  • Max recorded age 9yrs
  • Similar bird: Redshank
  • Listen to a Ruff (RSPB site)

A few birds are present in the UK all year round. The ruff is usually present as a migrant, young birds from Scandinavia visiting the UK in late summer, then heading on to winter in Africa. The birds which winter in the UK are usually found near the coast.

The males with intense coloured feather ruffs use their ruffs to attract females but those with white ruffs do not display to females.
Read more about this in the WIKI


Ruff records in the Western Isles

Scarce & sometimes uncommon passage visitor (Usually very small numbers each year, but sometimes up to 50 birds)
May have bred
Two winter records
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)

The chart below shows how abundant the Ruff is during a month or when you are more likely to see it.













(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)


Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

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