Ruff male displaying its plumage, Varanger Peninsula, Norway

Appearance

The ruff is well known for its spectacular appearance in breeding plumage. The Ruff males are about 25% larger than the females. The name ruff applies to the species or may be applied to the male only. It have one of the weirdest sexual systems in the world. A type of wading sandpiper, ruffs are named after the large showy feathers sported by ruff males around their necks during breeding season.

The Ruff Male

The Ruff Male

Ruff Reproduction

Two social classes of males are evident during the display. Resident males have black, brown, or patterned ruffs. They share their lek territories with subordinate more-conspicuous males that have white ruffs. The lighter subordinate males help attract females to the territories of the resident males. While the aggressive resident male is busy defending his area of the lek, the subordinate male sometimes “steals” copulation with visiting females. This behavior is genetically inherited along with the coloration of the male.

When a reeve strolls into their midst, the males collapse, quivering, with bills stuck into the ground. Then the female chooses one of the males, usually a resident male. Before mating, she nibbles at the male’s ruff. Alone, she builds a nest, which is well hidden in a shallow depression in marsh grasses, incubates two to four olive eggs, and raises the chicks. Ruffs are extremely dimorphic; the sexes keep apart, even in flocks.

The Ruff is threatened by pollution and drainage of wetlands, and the populations are decreasing throughout the range. But currently, the species is not globally threatened.

Male ruff birds cross-dress to steal females, and it’s all in their genes

Ruff Distribution

The ruff breeds in river meadows and coastal marshes from northern Europe to Siberia. It is decreasing in population because of human cultivation. Ruffs winter on broad mud flats from the North Sea to southern Africa and parts of southern Asia, and the species has been recorded with increasing frequency in North America. It eats insects, especially flies and beetles, as well as mollusks, worms, small fish, and frogs. During migration and winter, it relies on seeds for much of its diet.

Survival

The Ruff breeds in lowland freshwater marshes and swampy grasslands, avoiding the barren tundra and areas exposed to bad weather. The wet areas provide sources of food, mounds and slopes are used for displaying on leks, and the nesting sites are mostly in dry areas with sedges and low scrubs.

Ruff male displaying its plumage, Varanger Peninsula, Norway

Ruff male displaying its plumage, Varanger Peninsula, Norway

Outside the breeding season, the Ruff frequents a variety of shallow wetlands including the muddy margins of freshwater or brackish lakes and pools. It also occurs in rice fields, flooded grasslands and less frequently tidal mudflats.

Ruff male displaying its plumage, Varanger Peninsula, Norwayhttps://i1.wp.com/plexusworld.com/wp-content/uploads/5649a911bdcd8.jpg?fit=800%2C480https://i1.wp.com/plexusworld.com/wp-content/uploads/5649a911bdcd8.jpg?resize=150%2C150 Damien Lucian WorldWildLife,,,,,,,,,,
Appearance The ruff is well known for its spectacular appearance in breeding plumage. The Ruff males are about 25% larger than the females. The name ruff applies to the species or may be applied to the male only. It have one of the weirdest sexual systems in the world. A...
<strong>Appearance</strong> The ruff is well known for its spectacular appearance in breeding plumage. The Ruff males are about 25% larger than the females. The name ruff applies to the species or may be applied to the male only. It have one of the weirdest sexual systems in the world. A type of wading sandpiper, ruffs are named after the large showy feathers sported by ruff males around their necks during breeding season. <strong>Ruff Reproduction</strong> Two social classes of males are evident during the display. Resident males have black, brown, or patterned ruffs. They share their lek territories with subordinate more-conspicuous males that have white ruffs. The lighter subordinate males help attract females to the territories of the resident males. While the aggressive resident male is busy defending his area of the lek, the subordinate male sometimes “steals” copulation with visiting females. This behavior is genetically inherited along with the coloration of the male. When a reeve strolls into their midst, the males collapse, quivering, with bills stuck into the ground. Then the female chooses one of the males, usually a resident male. Before mating, she nibbles at the male’s ruff. Alone, she builds a nest, which is well hidden in a shallow depression in marsh grasses, incubates two to four olive eggs, and raises the chicks. Ruffs are extremely dimorphic; the sexes keep apart, even in flocks. The Ruff is threatened by pollution and drainage of wetlands, and the populations are decreasing throughout the range. But currently, the species is not globally threatened. <blockquote><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong>Male ruff birds cross-dress to steal females, and it’s all in their genes</strong></span></blockquote> <strong>Ruff Distribution</strong> The ruff breeds in river meadows and coastal marshes from northern Europe to Siberia. It is decreasing in population because of human cultivation. Ruffs winter on broad mud flats from the North Sea to southern Africa and parts of southern Asia, and the species has been recorded with increasing frequency in North America. It eats insects, especially flies and beetles, as well as mollusks, worms, small fish, and frogs. During migration and winter, it relies on seeds for much of its diet. <strong>Survival</strong> The Ruff breeds in lowland freshwater marshes and swampy grasslands, avoiding the barren tundra and areas exposed to bad weather. The wet areas provide sources of food, mounds and slopes are used for displaying on leks, and the nesting sites are mostly in dry areas with sedges and low scrubs. Outside the breeding season, the Ruff frequents a variety of shallow wetlands including the muddy margins of freshwater or brackish lakes and pools. It also occurs in rice fields, flooded grasslands and less frequently tidal mudflats.

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