- Length: 8 inches
- Small, short-legged shorebird
- Short, dark bill is fairly thick with a yellow base to the lower mandible
- Yellow legs
- White wing stripe
- Black subterminal band contrasts with white tail and rump
- Sexes similar
- Juvenile is similar to basic-plumaged adults
- Streaked head and back
- Rusty scapulars with black tips
- Black chevrons on white underparts
- Solid gray upperparts and breast
- White belly with irregular gray streaks
- Juvenile has pale edges to back and wing coverts
Turnstones are also small shorebirds with short bills that inhabit rocky
coasts. In basic plumage, turnstones have slimmer bills and different colored
legs (blackish in Black and orange/red in Ruddy). In flight, the Surfbird
lacks the white patches in the back and inner wings that the turnstones have.
Wandering Tattler and Rock Sandpiper have longer, slimmer bills.
Length and wingspan from: Robbins, C.S., Bruun, B., Zim, H.S., (1966). Birds of North America. New York: Western Publishing Company, Inc.