Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
© Dick Daniels/Wikimedia Commons (CC 3.0)

Surfbird

Surfbird
Aphriza virgata
Sandpiper-like Birds | Family: Sandpipers, Scolopacidae

An estimated 82% of the species' North American breeding range lies within the Boreal Forest.

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Overview

That two such distantly related shorebirds as the Surfbird and Black Turnstone have similar plumage is attributed to a similar need for camouflage in the same environment. The bright wing stripe is a signal, perhaps helping to keep the flying flock in formation.

Description

10" (25 cm). A stocky, rock-dwelling shorebird, slightly larger than Black Turnstone. Breeding adults have blackish upperparts spotted with white and chestnut, whitish underparts barred with black. Winter birds dark gray above and on breast. All plumages have bold white wing stripe, white rump.

Voice

A shrill kee-wee in flight.

Nesting

4 buff eggs, spotted with various colors, on bare ground among rocks.

Habitat

Breeds above timberline in Arctic mountains; winters on rocky shores, headlands, and islets.

Range/Migration

Breeds on mountain tundra of Alaska. Winters along Pacific Coast from southern Alaska southward to Baja California.