As an adult, the black turnstone is a stocky, short legged bird that has dark colorings but white across its wings and back. Its tail is white with a black terminal band. As a hatchling they are brownish with a brown gray tail. The beak of the turnstone is black, short, and thick. The bill is about 20-27 millimeters long and slightly upturned. This helps them flip over rocks to get food.
Both males and females are about 22–25 cm and weigh 100–170 g. Other names of this bird are Tournepierre noir and Vuelvepiedras negro. The regular plumage of the turnstone has a blackish head, breast, and upperparts while the under parts are white. During breeding the adults have white marks on their faces near the base of the bill and white eye lines.
The annual habitat of the turnstone is in the coastal region, often near lagoons and estuaries. They build their nest on the wet tundra and migrate during the winter along rocky shorelines. The turnstone is often found hunting on jetties, islets, and rocky shores. They have also been seen hunting at kelp beds.
The turnstone feeds mostly on invertebrates, mainly on mollusks and crustaceans in the winter. During the breeding season they usually eat insects. Other food includes eggs, seeds and carrion. Sedge is the main food they eat at breeding grounds. Their beak is used to turn over stones and other objects to get the prey underneath.
Black turnstones are found in small flocks that can get up to about 100 or more. Every year they return to the same mate and nest to have young. To attract a mate the male usually gives and aerial display. They arrive on their breeding grounds from early May to early July with the males arriving first. Their nests are usually on the ground among tall grasses or sedges that...