RUFF

This is a big sandpiper, nearly the size of a pigeon, with long legs and small beak. The upper body is motley, the belly is white. In the spring the bird’s leg are yellow or orange. At this time of year the male species have their “collar” and “ears” composed of oblong plumes of different colors – black, white and ginger. The skin around the beak is naked and covered with “warts”. The bird is quite silent but not timid.

The ruff’s diet is very diverse. In the beginning of summer it is mostly the midges (long-legs, mosquitos and flies), in the end of the nesting period the diet almost exclusively consists of water insects (caddis worm, leatherjackets etc.). The plant food is also present including seeds of sedge, saxifrage and alpine knotweed’s buds.

The bird is a typical dweller of plain meadows and swamps of southern tundra and forest tundra. The scientists observed the ruffs not far from the Laptev Sea (at least much further north than Syndasko village). It was the place where the pictures of ruffs’ matrimonial contests were taken.

The fights took place on a small hill, so we could see them from distance. The birds start to fight right after they have flown. The ruffs fluff up their “collars” and attack each other imitating a fight and striking different poses without allowing approach themselves closely.

The bird is very common in tundra. It is rarer in northern borders of tundra and meadows alongside the rivers and the Kara Sea; the ruff is also encountered in meadows and swamps of northern taiga.

The ruff is mostly a migratory bird, particularly in Yenisei area.

The birds are polygamous and don’t make couples. After female species sit on the nests the males migrate to secluded places to change their coat. The nest is usually made on the hillocks of hummock swamps and represents a hole made in grass with moss lining disguised with last year’s grass. The egg-set consist of 4 pear-shaped eggs of olive-brown or greenish color with brown spots. The female fiercely protects its nest.